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Blago indicted

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been indicted on 16 felony counts, as were his brother Rob, "two former top aides and two businessmen indicted on federal corruption charges alleging pervasive fraud," according to the Department of Justice's release.

Video: Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he's "innocent" after being indicted on conspiracy and wire fraud charges. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports.

NBC's Pete Williams points out that yesterday's grand jury indictment contains nothing substantially different, beyond what was in December's criminal complaint, about the allegations that Blagojevich tried to use his authority to appoint a new U.S. Senator in order to get benefits for himself, his wife, and his campaign fund. 

The US attorney's office in Chicago has formally acknowledged that Blagojevich's former chief of staff, John Harris, is cooperating with federal prosecutors.  Harris was charged along with the governor in December, and he's one of the six people named in today's indictment.

Illinois' senior Sen. Dick Durbin's response: "We can only hope the former governor will not view this indictment as a green light for another publicity tour. Rod Blagojevich deserves his day in court, but the people of Illinois deserve a break."

"A senior adviser to Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) slammed Democratic leaders Thursday evening, saying 'they have tried their best to discredit' the new senator in the wake of his appointment by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich."

The Chicago Tribune: "Feds widen net. U.S. says Blagojevich, crew ran state as racket."

The Chicago Sun-Times simply: "Indicted" with photos of Rod and Rob Blagojevich and takes it further with child photos. "…the sons of blue-collar parents…"