Defense Attorney Aaron Goldstein on His Time with Rod Blagojevich - FOX 32 News Chicago

Defense Attorney Aaron Goldstein on His Time with Rod Blagojevich


A Blagojevich attorney gives an exclusive view of the trial, while evidence surfaces that he admitted to a drinking problem.

Blagojevich attorneys confirmed Wednesday night that a confidential pre-sentence report recommended the ex-governor be placed in an alcohol abuse program after he reports to prison .

But is it another Blagojevich stunt? Completion of the program can lead to a shorter sentence.

Defense Attorney Aaron Goldstein sat down with FOX Chicago News to talk about being at Blagojevich’s side through both trials.

Goldstein said he never personally witnessed an alcohol issue with Blagojevich, but he also said he has absolutely no reason to question the probation department report which found Blagojevich did have a drinking problem.

He pointed out Judge Zagel accepted that finding, that's one reason the judge recommended Englewood prison in Colorado.

As to his own life with Blagojevich over the last three years, he said he has no regrets, including the decision to let Blagojevich testify.

Jurors said Blagojevich was doing well on the witness stand until the cross examination. Goldstein disagreed, saying cross was not the turning point of the trial – that it was a good examination.

“I think what hurt us the most was that we didn't have tapes to play for the jury, to back up what he said,” Goldstein said. “It really, I think, came down to a numbers game, where the government was able to play 60-70 calls, where we were only able to play five of them.”

Judge Zagel’s rulings regarding the tapes and other evidence restricted the amount of evidence the Blagojevich defense was able to present in trial. When asked whether the former governor was given a fair trial, Goldstein said it was for the appellate court to decide.

“We made those allegations over and over again,” Goldstein said. “There were certain things that we certainly had a gripe with.”

Goldstein worked with Blagojevich to prepare for testimony, and said he was both a good student and a good client – “not stubborn at all.”

“It was just to go over so he was completely aware of all the possible cross examination and direct testimony that he was going to get,” Goldstein said. “He was a joy to work with. I became so close with Rod and still am very close.”

Goldstein worked on the Blagojevich case for three years. The father of two now has time to reacquaint himself with his family.

“My wife is unbelievable. She basically said she learned what it felt like to be a single mother, during these last two years. But she understood that my duty calls,” Goldstein said. “You have to do what you have to do.”

The defense attorney said another interesting story was that his 6-year-old daughter got to know Blagojevich, and had a very emotional reaction to the guilty verdict.

“When she heard the verdict, she was at day care, they had the TV on,” Goldstein said. “She was just crying… and had to be sat down and calmed down. Recently, when she saw he was going to prison. She said to turn the channel, she couldn't watch it.”

As to serving time in Colorado, Goldstein said several factors pointed to Englewood as the best choice for Blagojevich. It’s close to Denver, and there's already a minimum security camp there that Blagojevich could eventually move into.

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