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Court denies Blagojevich travel request for TV show

 Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich steps into his car after leaving the Dirksen federal building after his arraignment hearing in Chicago, Illinois April 14, 2009. REUTERS/Frank Polich - Reuters
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich steps into his car after leaving the Dirksen federal building after his arraignment hearing in Chicago, Illinois April 14, 2009. REUTERS/Frank Polich
— image credit: Reuters

By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A federal judge has shot down former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's plans for reality-show stardom.

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 that 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 told a Chicago courtroom, according to reports.

Blagojevich said he has turned to the show to help raise money for his legal defense, with estimates putting the potential paycheck at about $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."

After being impeached by the Illinois House of Representatives for corruption and misconduct in office and subsequently convicted and removed from office by the State Senate, Blagojevich was indicted April 1 on federal corruption charges. The Democrat has pleaded not guilty to 16 criminal counts as part of an alleged effort to sell President Barack Obama's former Senate seat.

In an earlier interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Paul Telegdy, who oversees reality programing for NBC, addressed the chances that the former governor would make a run for it in the jungle while filming the show. "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."

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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