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ILLINOIS: Ex-aide testifies against ex-guv

A key government witness painted a picture of subterfuge and greed in Rod Blagojevich's inner circle Wednesday, including a scheme born as early as 2003 to make secret profits from his power as governor and divide up the spoils after he left office. In dramatic testimony at Blagojevich's corruption trial, his one-time chief of staff, Alonzo Monk, said they, along with fundraisers Tony Rezko and Christopher Kelly, discussed moneymaking plans, including an insurance company to do business with the state. Monk, who was Blagojevich's law school roommate, said the group calculated each of the plans would raise at least $100,000. The biggest deal described by Monk that actually came to pass was the sale of $10 billion in state pension bonds in one day by the now-defunct investment bank Bear Stearns. The former governor has pleaded not guilty to scheming to profit from his power to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama and squeeze people for campaign contributions.

Fire strikes ex-hangout for Capone

A fire that destroyed a historic but shuttered restaurant in Grundy County, Ill., once used as a hangout for mobster Al Capone is being called suspicious. It was built in 1928 and claims to be a former Capone hangout, according to The dining area and bar were in the basement of a huge old house for dancing and drinking during Prohibition. The owners said Capone and his cronies used a vault in the house to hide booze and slot machines during a raid.

TEXAS: Flash floods leave one dead

One person has died in flash floods that left buses and RVs wrapped around trees and light poles and cars standing on end in central Texas. New Braunfels police said a body was recovered Wednesday from the Guadalupe River in Gruene. About 11 inches of rain soaked the area between San Antonio and Austin overnight. A tornado caused property damage in Jefferson County earlier in the day.

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