Illinois governor hires Drew Peterson's PR firm

Sunday, January 25, 2009

CHICAGO -- Illinois' embattled governor has hired the same public relations firm that represents another much-in-the-news Illinoisan -- former suburban police sergeant Drew Peterson.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich's decision to employ the Tampa, Fla.-based Publicity Agency comes amid a newly launched media blitz, which will include a Monday appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live."

"The governor has decided that he wants to speak and tell his side of the story, and he enlisted us to help," Glenn Selig, the PR firm's founder, said on Saturday.

Blagojevich's impeachment trial in the state Senate is also set to start Monday, though the governor has said he won't show up or mount a defense, complaining the trial rules are unfair.

Blagojevich becomes the Florida agency's second high-profile client after Peterson, who has been named a suspect in the disappearance of his wife, Stacy Peterson.

Otherwise, Selig said there's nothing to link Peterson and Blagojevich, accused of scheming to benefit from his power to name President Barack Obama's replacement in the U.S. Senate.

"They are totally different cases," Selig said. "They each offer their own challenges for the individuals. The only thing they have in common is they are both big stories in the news."

After keeping mostly out of the public eye since his arrest last month on federal corruption charges, Blagojevich has given a series of interviews over the last few days.

On Monday, Blagojevich also will appear on ABC-TV's "The View" and "Good Morning, America." Peterson, too, has been interviewed on "Good Morning, America."

"We aren't doing any other morning shows," Selig said about the governor's Monday appearances. "We are not going to go show to show. We don't want to overdo it."

Blagojevich will fly to New York and appear on the TV shows in person, Selig said. The governor's wife, Patti, is expected to appear with him on "The View."

In recent days, Blagojevich has been careful not to answer questions about specific federal allegations, but Selig said the governor would still have plenty to say.

"He has some very strong opinions about what's going on in the (Illinois) Senate and how he's been treated," he said. "And he wants to get that message out."

Selig said that his agency will be responsible for dealing with the media on personal matters related to Blagojevich -- not with issues directly related to Illinois state business.

Selig's firm began representing Peterson after the Bolingbrook man's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared in October 2007. Peterson claims Stacy left him for another man.

Authorities are also investigating the death of Peterson's third wife, Kathleen Savio, whose body was found in a bathtub in her house in 2004. Peterson has not been named a suspect in her death.

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