Rod Blagojevich Returns to Stand for Cross-Examination, Shown Tr - FOX 32 News Chicago

Rod Blagojevich Returns to Stand for Cross-Examination, Shown Transcripts of Senate Talks

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Ousted Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich retook the stand in his corruption trial Monday to face a tough but civil cross-examination in which prosecutors read him transcripts of his conversations regarding the senate seat.

Complete Rod Blagojevich Trial Coverage >>

Key Points:

  • In a calmer cross-examination than the previous week, Blagojevich painted transcripts of him discussing possible deals in exchange for the senate seat as just him throwing out longshot ideas with the hope of a Cubs fan.
  • Blagojevich’s cross-examination began Thursday after more than a week testifying with his own lawyers. Prosecutors only got an hour on cross before court recessed for the weekend , but it was very combative, starting with getting Blagojevich to admit he was in fact already a convicted liar. Later, the prosecutor asked, "is it fair to say that as a politician, not infrequently, you lie to the public?”
  • Blagojevich answered, "I try to be as truthful as possible. Politics is a difficult business."
  • Under his direct examination by the defense, Blagojevich showed his personality and denied ever trying to trade the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama for his own personal gain, as well as four other shakedowns with which he is charged.

 

UPDATE:  4:32 p.m. 
The prosecution asked Blagojevich about the fall of 2008 and why he worked so much from home. He said it was because he couldn't work on fundraising at the state government office.

The prosecution read back a transcript on which Blagojevich said earlier that he was making budget cuts and wanted to be away from special interest groups looking for money. Blagojevich confirmed.

The prosecution asked that if overall, he worked more from home than the office. Blagojevich said he didn't know, but that it's a lot easier to not take a meeting with someone if you're not available.

From 2003 to 2008, Blagojevich said he decided whose calls he would return and meet with, based on the list of phone messages he would get from Mary Stewart. He said this system made life less complicated for him because he wouldn't have to run into people in the hallway and tell them no.

The prosecution asked if he understood that Balanoff was bringing a message from Obama. Blagojevich said yes, after the Nov. 6 meeting, and he siad he was dodging Balanoff because he didn't want to make a Senate seat decision yet.

The prosecution is trying to make the point that Blagojevich knows how to avoid phone calls and meetings, and Blagojevich agreed "for the most part." He said it's easier for him than telling people "no," because he's a politician and he wants to make people happy.

The judge said court's done for the day. Come back tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

 

UPDATE:  4:20 p.m. 
The prosecution asked Blagojevich about an Oct. 8, 2008 meeting at the FOB offices with Wyma, Monk, Blagojevich and his brother attending. Blagojevich said he thinks he raised the issue of Magoon at the meeting, but he doesn't remember saying he wanted to "get Magoon" for $50,000. The prosecution asked if he remembered assigning Wyma to get the Magoon contribution. Blagojevich said he can't order Wyma around, but he might have agreed to it. After that, the prosecution read back testimony in which Blagojevich said it was Wyma's assignment.

During an Oct. 22, 2008 meeting, Blagojevich testified earlier that he learned Wyma hadn't done anything since the Oct. 8 meeting to get money from Magoon. Blagojevich agreed he was trying to get the money from Magoon before he knew whether the rate increase was possible.

Blagojevich aruges he doesn't personally recall Magoon asking for the rate increase because Baker is the one who called and asked for it on Magoon's behalf. Blagojevich said he wasn't returning Magoon's phone calls because he was in the middle of making budget cuts.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he knew that Magoon is or was goin to do a fundraiser for State Sen. John Cullerton. The prosecution asked if Blagojevich call Magoon to tell him about the rate increase because he thought it would put pressure on Magoon to fundraise for him and make him feel obligated to help. The defense objected, but Blagojevich answered anyway: "Absolutely not."

After calling Magoon, Blagojevich confirmed that he called his brother to ask Magoon for a donation before the end of the year, and that he believed the rate increase to be a done deal.

On Nov. 12, Blagojevich learned Magoon was not returning his brother's phone calls, and Blagojevich told his brother he'd call.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich: According to your testimony, you believed the rate increase was a done deal. Yes, he answered. So then why did you call Greenlee two weeks later to see if the rate increase was approved? Blagojevich said that he wanted to find out the status before he decided whether or not to call Magoon for a donation.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he didn't call Magoon because he didn't want Magoon to feel pressure; Blagojevich said "There is no universal answer to this question."

The prosecution asked Blagojevich why he didn't seem concerned that Monk was going to ask Johnston for money while the race track bill was pending and just needed his signature. Blagojevich said this is a different scenario and that Monk led him to believe Johnston was going to make the donation.

The prosecution asked about pressure being put on Krozel to donate as well. Again, Blagojevich said it's apples to oranges.

Prosecution asked Blagojevich if he still had people making efforts to get money from Magoon after he learned the rate increase had not been officially approved. Blagojevich said they talked about having Wyma call Magoon, and that Blagojevich didn't feel comfortable being the one.

 

UPDATE:  3:55 p.m. 
The prosecution asked Blagojevich about fundraising and Children's Memorial Hospital. Blagojevich confirms that he testified earlier that the pediatric rate increase was not tied to a donation from Magoon.

Blagojevich talked about a call from Dusty Baker in late Sept. 2008. Blagojevich confirmed that he called Magoon as soon as he got off the phone with Baker, and after that he called Greenlee and said "Go get me the money."

On Oct. 17, 2008, Blagojevich said that Greenlee told him they found the money and Blagojevich called Magoon to tell him the "good news" and that the rate effect would take place on Jan. 1, 2009, but to keep it quiet for budget reasons. Blagojevich said he might have said that; the prosecution read back testimoney where he did indeed say that. Blagojevich said it was two years ago.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich whether or not he was "clear" with Magoon to be the quiet about the rate increase being approved, as he testified earlier. Blagojevich now says he may have been speaking "parenthetically" and that his best recollection is that he explained it along those lines, but is afraid to "lock in" on those exact words.

 

UPDATE:  3:10 p.m. 
The prosecution asked about a call made on Dec. 4. 2008 at 9:09 a.m., and despite testifying earlier that he couldn't recall what he was going to say to Monk in this call, based on the prosecution questions, he said that he now can remember. Blagojevich said he did not mention Kelly to Monk, because he was worried Monk might be talking to Kelly.

Blagojevich said he did ask Monk if Kelly was the reason Johnston was not donating, and that Monk said no. The prosecution asked Blagojevich why he wasn't upset for Monk getting in Johnston's face for a donation when Johnston had legislation pending. Blagojevich confirms that he didn't, but he understands why the prosecution is asking the question.

The prosecution asked about a call from Dec. 4, 2008, at 5:12 p.m. Blagojevich said he had "a fear" of the race track bill being connected to Kelly. In this call, Blagojevich said "Now I know why Kelly called on Thanksgiving."

Prosecution trying to argue that this is the first time Blagojevich tries the two things together. Blagojevich says no.

The prosecution asked for a sidebar, and the jury is sent out of the court room. The judge put court on a 20 minute break.

  

UPDATE:  3:02 p.m. 
The prosecution asked about a Dec. 3, 2008 phone call between Blagojevich and Monk. This is the call in which Monk tells Blagojevich that Johnston is losing $9,000 for every day the bill is not signed. Blagojevich tells Monk: "It's been a year. Get it done. Just get it done." Monk tells Blagojevich he's going to tell Johnston to get the money and that Blagojevich was going to get skittish because he was afraid he wouldn't get the money once he signed the bill. Blagojevich said this is what Harris was supposed to tell Johnston and that it was okay as long as he didn't cross any lines, as long as it was legal.

Blagojevich repeated: "Not one for the other... don't cross any lines," but that he can't control what Monk actually says to his client, and that he trusts Monk's judgment.

Blagojevich said he was very scrupulous and never misused his campaign funds. He also said this fund was "not of personal value" to him.

Blagojevich said that he wanted some separation between the bill and the donation and some "understanding" that he was actually going to receive the donation. Prosecution pointed out that Blagojevich doesn't bring up Chris Kelly at all because Kelly has "infected the issue." Blagojevich agreed. He also agreed that he didn't tell Monk to tell Johnston he couldn't sign the bill because they had a "rewrite to do right" situation.

Blagojevich said he believed Monk would know how to deal with his client so they would get the money without crossing any lines and no one thinking "one for the other."

 

UPDATE:  2:42 p.m. 
The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he said earlier that his signing the racetrack bill was not tied to a donation from Johnston; Blagojevich said yes.

Blagojevich confirmed that when the bill passed the legislature in November 2008, he still didn't have a donation from Johnston.

The prosecution asked about call on Nov. 26. 2008, at 12:53 p.m., between Blagojevich and Harris. In the call, Blagojevich said he was going to sit on the racetrack bill until he sorts through all sorts of bills. The prosecution pointed out that Blagojevich didn't say anything to Harris about "poison pill"language, and that Harris said it was okay to sign. The defense objected and the judge sustained.

The prosecution asked if he had any questions about signing the bill. Blagojevich said no, not here. Or if there was poison pill language? Yes.

Blagojevich said he wanted to personally review this bill and others with his policy people for the concerns he raised in his direct testimony. Prosecution asked if it was a fact that he was "largely disengaged" from the bill review process. The defense objected. The judge overruled. Blagojevich said that wasn't true, and that he wanted to discuss all of these bills with his advisors to make sure no poison pill language was included.

The prosecution asked if he could have had his advisors review the bill the day it was signed. Yes.

Then the prosecution asked about a phone call with Chris Kelly over Thanksgiving weekend. Blagojevich said he had his suspicions about Kelly calling him, since they hadn't spoken for more than a year, and that it didn't take much to link the race track bill with Kelly.

 

 

UPDATE:  2:31 p.m. 
Court resumed after a lunch break with the prosecution asking Blagojevich about when other politicians would come to him as governor looking for help with legislation and other projects. Blagojevich said it was called “favor banking.”

Blagojevich testified sometimes he’d remember if he’d helped someone in the past. He said he spent a lot of time thinking about who he helped and when he did help someone, he didn’t say “I’m putting that in the favor bank.”

The prosecution asked Blagojevich about first meeting Rahm Emanuel and asked if he kept track of favors he did for Emanuel. Blagojevich said he didn’t remember them.

The prosecution asked about the 2007 “ultimate fighting” legislation that Blagojevich helped pass for Emanuel and Emanuel’s brother. Blagojevich said he didn’t necessarily view it as a favor because he likes traditional boxing, but it wouldn’t be erroneous to call it that.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich about when Blagojevich asked Emanuel for a favor. Blagojevich testified he asked Emanuel to write Mike Madigan to push or cancel certain bills and other forms of help. The judge struck the first part of his answer, and Blagojevich apologized.

The prosecution tried to ask Blagojevich if he testified earlier he wanted to be the one to call with the news the school grant had been approved, but the defense objected.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he remembered where he was when Emanuel asked for a grant for Chicago Academy, a school in Emanuel’s congressional district. Blagojevich said he couldn’t, and confirmed he stated earlier that he couldn’t remember where the school was, how much money the grant was for or who he directed to help with the grant.

Blagojevich said he did remember a 2006 grant for the Chicago Academy being brought to his attention, which he thought was a second grant. Blagojevich confirmed he asked Harris and other advisors to see if it was a second grant and that he had Bob Greenlee paid out the grant as the invoices came in. The prosecution asked if Greenlee paid them because Bradley Tusk may have committed the money without Blagojevich’s approval, and despite a defense objection, Blagojevich said yes.

Blagojevich testified he didn’t recall asking Tusk if he committed a second grant.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he testified that he’d like to be the guy to tell Emanuel about the money.

“Mr. Schar, if there is ever a day I can do something nice for you, I’d like to be the guy to tell you about it,” Blagojevich said. “And I’m not ruling that out.”

Blagojevich testified he agreed to a school grant Emanuel asked him for and was happy to do it. The prosecution asked if Blagojevich leveraged the grant for a fundraiser, and though the defense objected, Blagojevich said “No, I want to answer that. Absolutely not.”

The prosecution asked Blagojevich about a phone call from 11:23 a.m. on Dec. 4, 2008 between him and Harris. In the call, Cheryle Jackson is mentioned as a possible candidate for the Senate, and Blagojevich says she’s “a f***in', there's no f***in' way. She's so f***in' incompetent and a f***in' liar. She bounced a check. Forget about it, don't, don't put her in there. Talkin' about her profile?” Jackson bounced a fundraising check she wrote to Blagojevich.

Blagojevich was then questioned about Jay Hoffman, a former state representative who helped Blagojevich fundraise. Blagojevich didn’t want to meet with Hoffman because he wasn’t helping Blagojevich fundraise, and Blagojevich said to “f*** Jay” in a conversation because he wasn’t calling Rob Blagojevich back. Blagojevich confirmed he said Hoffman could “sit and wait” because of that.
 

 

UPDATE:  12:38 p.m. 
After a sidebar conversation with the judge, the prosecution asked Blagojevich if he was concerned in Nov. 2008 about being impeached by the state legislature and if he was unhappy with some editorials written by the Chicago Tribune. Blagojevich said yes to both and he would have been nice if the editorials had stopped.

Blagojevich also confirmed that at the time, he was trying to help the Tribune Company receive state funding to renovate Wrigley Field. Blagojevich said he asked Harris to talk to Nils Larsen at the Tribune about his issues.

The prosecution read from a transcript of a conversation he had with Harris on Nov. 4, 2008 in which he told Harris to tell Larsen to fire the editorial board, saying “fire all those f***in' people. Get 'em the f*** out of there. And get us some editorial support.”

"That sounds like me," Blagojevich testified.

The prosecution asked if Blagojevich told Harris to get the editorials in the Tribune before he approved the financing. The prosecution also mentioned Blagojevich’s Jan. 27, 2009 interview on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, in which she asked Blagojevich, if he told them to lay off? On the show, Blagojevich said he didn’t on the show, although he admitted on the stand he wanted them to lay off.

Blagojevich said no, there was never any discussion with anyone at the Tribune. He said he viewed Larsen as working with the Illinois Finance Authority and not the Tribune Company. He added he meant lay off in terms of firing.

When Blagojevich heard on Nov. 21, 2008 that Tribune reporter John McCormick might have been laid off, Blagojevich confirmed he said, “that would be great.”

The Tribune published several editorials calling for Blagojevich’s impeachment, and the prosecution was trying to establish Blagojevich wanted those editorials to stop if the Tribune wanted state money to renovate Wrigley Field.

Court then broke for lunch.

 

UPDATE:  12:28 p.m. 
Court resumed from a short break.

The prosecutors continued to question Blagojevich about the senate seat appointment and discussions about Valerie Jarrett for 24 minutes. Focusing on phone calls from Nov. 12 and 13, 2008, the prosecution asked Blagojevich if he still believed Jarrett was interested in the senate seat despite news reports that she was taking a position in the White House. Blagojevich said it was possible, and he may have stated that in one of the calls.

Blagojevich denied that, regarding a call from Nov. 13, 2008, he was trying to trade the senate seat for $20 million to set up a 501 (c)(4) organization instead of the Health and Human Services secretary position. The prosecution had asked if that route was to have Doug Scofield to ask John Wyma to ask Rahm Emanuel.

In a call from Nov. 13, Blagojevich says he thinks Jarrett will take the seat if she thinks she can get it and he wants to put the nonprofit idea in Emanuel’s head immediately. The prosecution asked, regarding this call, if he wanted to plant the idea immediately because he had made up his mind, and Blagojevich said “no, not necessarily.” Blagojevich began to ramble about not having made up his mind, and the judge struck the rest of the answer as non-responsive. Blagojevich then said, “no,” he “expressly” told Scofield not to connect the two or imply they were connected.

Blagojevich confirmed he was avoiding calls from Emanuel because he didn’t want to be pressured into making a decision about the senate seat.

The prosecution asked if Blagojevich discussed the nonprofit idea after Nov. 13, 2008, and Blagojevich testified it was not discussed because Jarrett took the White House position. He also testified one reason he didn’t want to talk to Wyma around that time was because Wyma had received a subpoena from the feds regarding some of his healthcare-related clients.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he told former House Speaker Dennis Hastert that he was also considering possibly exchanging the senate seat for an ambassadorship or nonprofit, and Blagojevich testified he did not.

The prosecution then asked for a sidebar.

 

UPDATE:  11:57 a.m. 
The prosecution returned to questioning Blagojevich about a Nov. 10, 2008 call he had with John Harris. In the call, Blagojevich says, “this is good, they didn’t say no.” Blagojevich confirmed he said it and equated himself to being a Cubs fan who’s “keeping hope alive.”

Blagojevich confirmed he asked Harris and Greenlee to research a “well-paying job in the private sector” for him, and he agreed that it was important for him to know how much money those positions paid.

The prosecution turned to a call from 12:21 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2008 between Blagojevich and Bob Greenlee. In the call, Blagojevich asks how much a position at Families USA makes, and Blagojevich confirmed on the stand that he also asked Greenlee about Obama removing the current head so he could take the spot.

Blagojevich, when asked if he wanted to take that job or a new job right away, testified he did not.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich about trading the senate seat for a position with the SEIU’s Change to Win campaign. Blagojevich confirmed he talked about it and it was not a job for the people of Illinois, that it would be created just for him and pay what he wanted.

In a call from 9:37 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2008 , Blagojevich said he believed Balanoff was the only one he was talking to about the senate seat deal with the Obama administration.

The prosecution turned to a Nov. 12, 2008 call with Balanoff about setting up a 501 (c)(4) nonprofit organization. The attorney asked Blagojevich if he did not indicate in anyway in the call that he was willing to appoint Jarrett to the Senate in exchange for the nonprofit’s funding. Blagojevich testified he remembers the call and he could not answer with a yes or a no because there was more to the call.

The prosecution again asked if Blagojevich offered to exchange the seat for nonprofit funding and Blagojevich said no.

The prosecution asked if Blagojevich was trying to link nonprofit funding and Jarrett’s appointment, and Blagojevich said they talked about the two, but there was no decision made. He said they discussed it was a possibility and Blagojevich said the call speaks for itself.

The prosecution turned to a call from 9:16 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2008 between Blagojevich and Harris. In the call, Harris tells Blagojevich the Obama administration would be grateful and appreciative if he appointed Jarrett to the Senate. Blagojevich asks in the call about getting Warren Buffett to donate or help fund the nonprofit.

Blagojevich confirmed the call.

The prosecution asked if Blagojevich said in another call that the Pritzkers could raise money for him and he would appoint J.B. Pritzker to the seat. Blagojevich testified he did say that, but it was predicated on him earlier in the call saying only if it was legal.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he was trying to find a job or a “place for him to land” when he left office, and Blagojevich testified no, because he didn’t know what he wanted to do yet. He was trying to figure it out, and that’s what all the discussions were about.

Blagojevich confirmed in a call from 10:26 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2008 between him and Harris he raised the 501 (c)(4) idea after it being reported that Jarrett was going to take a White House cabinet position instead of the senate seat.

In a recorded call from 10:34 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2008 between Blagojevich and Balanoff, Blagojevich says to Balanoff he “possibly” wanted to create a nonprofit job from himself when he leaves office and that he wanted $20 million to set it up. Blagojevich confirmed on the stand that he told Balanoff he wanted it set up overnight.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he told Balanoff that if he could get the money, he would appoint Jarrett to the Senate. Blagojevich testified he couldn’t answer yes or no. He said he sees what is on the transcript, but that is not what he meant. He said he didn’t mean to indicate that to Balanoff.

In a call from 10:50 a.m. on Nov. 12 , Blagojevich and Patti discuss the 501 (c)(4). Blagojevich said he told Patti he wanted the nonprofit despite that not being what was really said to Balanoff. Blagojevich testified he was talking in “quick shorthand” and he was in the information gathering stage, talking about possible scenarios. The judge told him to answer yes or no, and Blagojevich said if you look at his answer literally, “it’s inaccurate.”

The prosecution said Blagojevich expected Balanoff to pass his nonprofit request on to Jarrett directly, and Blagojevich testified he thought Balanoff might do so.

Blagojevich confirmed in one of the calls from Nov. 12, 2008, he said if Jarrett really wanted to become a senator, it could happen.

Court took a short break and attorneys met with the judge in sidebar.

 

UPDATE:  11:24 a.m. 
The prosecution returned to questioning Blagojevich about a Nov. 6, 2008 meeting he had with Tom Balanoff and how he rehearsed with John Harris beforehand.

Blagojevich testified he wasn’t sure if Balanoff would pass his request to be the Health and Human Services secretary on to the Obama administration. He believed Balanoff was an emissary between him and Obama and saw him as a “feeler” during a probing period, which is common in politics.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if it is a fact that he told Balanoff that if he got the HHS position, he would appoint Jarrett to the Senate. Blagojevich testified he never said it exactly that way to Balanoff. The prosecution asked if, not in those exact words, he indicated that to Balanoff in the meeting. Blagojevich said no.

The prosecution turned to a recorded call from 4:11 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2008 from after the Balanoff meeting. In the conversation between Blagojevich, Harris and Fred Yang, Blagojevich describes the conversation with Balanoff.

Reading from the transcript, the prosecution said Blagojevich stated in the call that he “threw out” the HHS idea to Balanoff and that if he got it, “I could do Valerie Jarrett in a heart beat.”

Blagojevich testified he did say that to Yang but not to Balanoff.

The prosecution read another portion of the call transcript, and Blagojevich confirmed he said, “She now knows that she can be a U.S. senator if I get, uh, Health and Human Services.”

The prosecution turned to a recorded call from 11:06 a.m. on Nov. 7, 2008 between Blagojevich and Doug Scofield. Blagojevich confirmed he made a statement in the call to the effect that Jarrett could get the seat if he got the HHS post.

The prosecution also asked Blagojevich if he used the word “trade” in that phone call when talking about the seat. The transcript shows Blagojevich says, “I'm willing to trade the thing I got tightly held, to her for something she doesn't hold quite as tightly.”

Blagojevich also confirmed upon questioning he told John Wyma on Nov. 22, 2008 that he told Balanoff “he’s happy to take her if he gets HHS.”

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he got the HHS position, if he would have appointed Jarrett to the Senate. Blagojevich said he would have had to look at that deal, the Madigan deal and Emil Jones.

Under questioning, Blagojevich testified the HHS deal, Jones deal and Madigan deal were all “stalking horses.”

The prosecution returned to the 4:11 p.m. call from Nov. 7, asking about Blagojevich saying he would appoint Jarrett “in a heartbeat” if he got the HHS post. Blagojevich testified he said that, but it was a long shot and he didn’t know for sure if he’d be able to make that decision.

The prosecution asked about another recorded call from 9:25 a.m. on Nov. 6, 2008 between Blagojevich and Harris. In the call, Blagojevich says again if he got the HHS post, he’d appoint Jarrett.

The prosecution asked if he didn’t get the HHS post, that would mean Jarrett would not get the senate seat, but Blagojevich testified that wasn’t true at all.

In the 4:11 p.m. Nov. 7 call, Blagojevich confirms he made his request for HHS and was waiting for a call back.

The answer he got back from the Obama administration was they would be thankful and appreciative.

The prosecution asked about when Blagojevich responded to the news of their appreciation with, “They're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. F*** them.” Blagojevich confirmed he said that, and that he said he thought the Obama administration was arrogant. Blagojevich asked to fully explain the comments and started to do so, but the judge stopped him and said the prosecution was asking yes or no questions, so no further explanation was needed.

Blagojevich said he thought the HHS idea was a dead issue even before he asked Balanoff about it.

In the 4:11 p.m. Nov. 7 call, Blagojevich talks about how badly Obama wanted Jarrett in the Senate and that Jarrett knew she could be a senator if Blagojevich got HHS. The prosecution asked if Blagojevich thought he could get the HHS post, and Blagojevich said he thought it was a long shot despite the call.

 

UPDATE:  10:56 a.m. 
The prosecution asked Blagojevich about his oath of office, in which he promised to protect the U.S. Constitution. Blagojevich said the Constitution was sacred.

Blagojevich confirmed that Rahm Emanuel’s congressional seat was also being vacated because he went to D.C. to be President Obama’s chief of staff and Emanuel asked him to appoint a replacement for his seat before a special election could be held. Blagojevich testified he told Emanuel he didn’t think he had the power to do so, and confirmed that with his counsel, Bill Quinlan.

In a call from Nov. 10, 2008, Blagojevich confirmed, he talked with Fred Yang about possibly appointing someone to Emanuel’s seat and Yang confirmed Blagojevich didn’t have the power to do so. Blagojevich added Emanuel said his lawyers were looking for ways to do it.

In the call, Yang asked Blagojevich if Emanuel wanted him to break the Constitution, and Blagojevich said yes, it was a favor worth doing. Yang said again it wasn’t legal, and Blagojevich said by the time anyone would sue him, they’d be off on their special election.

The prosecution turned to a Nov. 6, 2008 meeting Blagojevich had with Tom Balanoff. The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he told Balanoff he was not willing to appoint Valerie Jarrett to the Senate in exchange for the Health and Human Services cabinet postion. Blagojevich testified he asked Balanoff what he thought about Blagojevich being HHS secretary, but he never told him he’d make Jarrett a senator. Blagojevich said it was discussed in the context of Jarrett and the senate seat, but he never said it was one for the other and he didn’t offer to do it.

In a call between Blagojevich and John Harris from Nov. 3, 2008 at 8:35 a.m. , Harris tells Blagojevich the Obama administration is interested in Jarrett being appointed to the Senate, and Blagojevich says, “We should get something for that, couldn’t I?”

In court, Blagojevich confirmed his response in the call and said that the “that” Jarrett’s appointment.

Blagojevich, in the call, then asks about the HHS post in exchange for the senate seat. “How about Health and Human Services? Can I get that?” he says.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he asked what was good for the people of Illinois in the call, and Blagojevich testified no, “not exactly.” Upon questioning, Blagojevich testified at that particular time they did not put together a list of what they could ask for in exchange for Jarrett’s appointment, but they discussed what they could get.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he was talking about getting something for himself, and Blagojevich testified getting the HHS seat would help him improve health care for people across America, and yes, he was talking about a job for himself.

Blagojevich confirmed at times he was frustrated with his job as governor and felt he might be left behind.

 

UPDATE:  10:32 a.m. 
Court was called into session for the day and the prosecution resumed its cross-examination of Blagojevich.

The prosecution questioned Blagojevich about a call previously discussed in his testimony from Dec. 8, 2008 between him and Bob Greenlee. Blagojevich testified earlier that based on the call, he went to bed that night believing he was a day or two away from making the Madigan deal on the senate seat happen.

The prosecution showed Blagojevich a transcript of what came next in the call, since his attorneys only questioned him on a portion of it. The prosecution then played a new recorded call. In the call, Blagojevich and Greenlee talk about the Madigan deal and Greenlee essentially says they should proceed with it quietly.

After the recording was finished playing, Blagojevich asked if he could explain the call and the judge refused.  Blagojevich apologized.

  


Rod Blagojevich Scandal: More Key Players

Visit the "Who's Who" page to learn more about the former Illinois governor , his co-defendants, inner circle, the legal team and what people like President Obama , Sen. Dick Durbin and other high-profile people have to do with the case.


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