Dying Blagojevich fundraiser said he overdosed, mayor says


Christopher Kelly, 51, was former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's chief fundraiser.
Police are looking into the death of the former chief fundraiser for ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich as a “death-suicide investigation,” an Illinois mayor said Sunday.

Financier Christopher Kelly told police shortly before he died Saturday that he took an “overdose of drugs,” said Dwight Welch, mayor of Country Club Hills, Illinois. Country Club Hills police found several drugs in Kelly’s black 2007 Cadillac Escalade, but they were not sure yet whether they were prescribed, Welch said. Country Club Hills is about 27 miles south of Chicago. Kelly had recently undergone surgery and was taking drugs following the operation, Welch said. Welch said he did not know which drugs Kelly was taking. Kelly, 51, of Burr Ridge, Illinois, was pronounced dead at Stroger hospital in Cook County at 10:46 a.m. Saturday, hospital spokesman Marcel Bright told CNN. Cook County authorities did not release any details about Kelly’s death. Earlier this year, Blagojevich, who was impeached and removed from office, pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges. A federal grand jury in April indicted him on 16 felony counts, including racketeering, conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to investigators. The indictment also named some of Blagojevich’s closest aides, including Kelly; former chief of staff, John Harris; and Springfield, Illinois, millionaire William Cellini.

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On Tuesday in a separate case, Kelly pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud “as part of a kickback scheme to illegally obtain $8.5 million in work at O’Hare International Airport,” the Chicago Tribune reported Saturday in story about his death on the newspaper’s Web site. “At the time, Kelly, 51, said he was under pressure from federal prosecutors to cooperate in their investigation of Blagojevich, but he refused,” the Tribune reported. In a statement released Saturday, Blagojevich, who was in New York, said he was “deeply saddened to hear that Chris had died.”

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