Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Bob Greenlee ’96

It can’t be fun to testify in court that you were Rod Blagojevich’s yes-man. But it beats being called his co-conspirator. Bob Greenlee ’96 spent only six months as one of Blagojevich’s three deputy governors, but, as Greenlee’s testimony in the former Illinois governor’s corruption trial this week indicates, it was far from uneventful. Greenlee testified that Blagojevich spent just two to eight hours a week in the governor’s office; once hid in a bathroom to avoid talking to his budget director; and was so difficult to track down that Greenlee once had to join a Blagojevich family dinner in a bowling alley to get the governor to review legislation.

Most of Greenlee’s testimony centered on recorded conversations in which he and Blagojevich appear to be discussing ways of trading Barack Obama’s US Senate seat for campaign cash, an ambassadorship, or an appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Defense attorneys tried to suggest that by agreeing with Blagojevich’s schemes, Greenlee was giving him advice, but Greenlee insisted that pretending to agree with the governor was a necessary part of his job. “In the event I could see him moving into a position I’d jump in there first and say what he wanted to hear,” he explained.

This wasn’t Greenlee’s first encounter with a defense lawyer. Since resigning as deputy governor in the wake of Blagojevich’s 2008 arrest, Greenlee (who was a corporate lawyer before he went into government) has become managing editor of Defense Counsel Journal, published by the Chicago-based International Association of Defense Counsel.

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