Judge denies Blago's 'Celebrity' request
Judge James Zagel said Blagojevich cannot go to Costa Rica to shoot NBC's summer series "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here." The former governor had requested the judge loosen his travel restrictions to appear on the show.
"I do not have confidence that things will not go astray if I modify bond conditions," Zagel said, according to UPI.
Blagojevich has said he's turned to the show to help raise money for his legal defense, with estimates putting the potential paycheck around $100,000.
NBC reacted to the judge's decision with this statement:
"NBC is disappointed in the court’s decision today regarding Rod Blagojevich’s participation on “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, but excited about the casting announcement for the show this Friday. There are no plans to move the show to a location in the United States."
The Democrat has pleaded not guilty to 16 criminal counts as part of an alleged effort to sell Barack Obama's former senate seat.
In a Q&A with NBC's new reality head Paul Telegdy, set to publish in the Hollywood Reporter later this week, the executive gave some bemused answers when asked to gauge Blagojevich's chances of appearing on the show:
THR: Do you really think a judge is going to let Blago go to Costa Rica?
Telegdy: I'm simply not an expert in U.S. extradition. I'll leave it to gangs of lawyers. It's certainly an interesting talking point.
THR: Are you at all concerned about him running off into the jungle?
Telegdy: I'm not going to be able to give proper judgment about his flight risk. Let me tell you that it's shot in a secure, remote location surrounded by many, many acres of impenetrable jungle. It's not somewhere I'd want to run away from.
Even with Blago unable to participate, this whole incident is a gain for NBC. The network received tremdendous free publicity for its summer series, something the company surely factored when it made the offer to the former governor in the first place.