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Blagojevich indicted? Not quite

If you've been reading about Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's recent arrest, you've probably heard he's been indicted. Slate says so; ditto the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and many, many others. (Note: some of these outlets may have backtracked by the time you read this.)

Not quite. This is a criminal complaint, not an indictment.

The recent example of Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson may be instructive here. Wilkerson was arrested by the FBI and charged with multiple counts of bribery on October 28. But she wasn't indicted until three weeks later, after a federal grand jury decided to proceed with the charges in question.

Not everyone's gotten it wrong. Politico's Ben Smith gets a gold star. So does CNN.com, for getting it right in its discussion of whether Blagojevich will still get to pick Barack Obama's replacement in the Senate--a position which, according to today's complaint, he was ready to exchange for personal enrichment:

One big question now is whether Blagojevich retains the right to name Obama's successor if he remains in custody or even under indictment [emph. added]. The answer is yes, according to [prosecutor Patrick] Fitzgerald. 

The question is, why didn't more outlets get it right?
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