Indicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, convicted conman Bernard Madoff, Tiger Woods and hard-partying U.S. private security guards at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul were named the worst-behaved newsmakers of 2009 by the ABC News program "Nightline" Wednesday.
Co-anchor Martin Bashir and ABC News chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross announced the winners in four categories of the "not-so-coveted Bernie awards," named after Madoff.
The overall "grand-prize Bernie" went to former Gov. Blagojevich, who received the most votes in a decidedly unscientific audience vote on ABCNews.com.
A spokesperson for Blagojevich, Glenn Selig, said he was surprised by the outcome "based on the response we get on his Web site, the crowds he draws at public engagements and the demand for his autograph."
Blagojevich is scheduled to go on trial next summer and "looks forward to his trial because he's anxious for the truth to come out," said the spokesperson.
The former Illinois governor received the most votes in the politicians' category, ahead of former Sen. John Edwards, Sen. John Ensign (R.-Nev.), Republican South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and convicted Congressman William "Cold Cash" Jefferson (D.-La.).
Other Bernie WinnersIn the category of "celebrities and wannabes," Tiger Woods was the leading vote-getter, ahead of the gate-crashing Salahis, the parents of so-called balloon boy Falcon Heene, R&B singer Chris Brown and David Letterman.
Bernard Madoff led the list of nominees in the "money men" category, ahead of former AIG executive Joseph Cassano, Bank of America president Ken Lewis, accused scammer Allen Stanford and indicted hedge-fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam.
In the category of "sick and twisted" the winners were the U.S. contractors guarding the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, whose wild, sexually oriented hazing parties were revealed by whistleblowers. They received more online votes than the U.A.E. sheikh accused of torture, the Texas state employees who created a fight club with mentally disabled residents, the CIA station chief in Algeria accused of raping an Algerian woman and the Russian spies who tried to smear an American diplomat with a clumsily created and bogus sex tape.