Rod Blagojevich Finishes Testimony in Corruption Trial - FOX 32 News Chicago

Rod Blagojevich Finishes Testimony in Corruption Trial


Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich wrapped up 27 hours worth of testimony on Tuesday, and the jury will probably start deliberations on Thursday, the judge said.

Before they wrapped up, prosecutors questioned Blagojevich about offers for fundraising in exchange for appointing Jesse Jackson Jr to the Senate in a tense exchange over what he meant in recorded conversations.

Complete Rod Blagojevich Trial Coverage >>

Key Points:

  • For the second day in a row, Rahm Emanuel's name came up in Blagojevich's testimony. The defense filed a transcript of a call between Blagojevich and Emanuel and a motion arguing it should be allowed in court to dispute the prosecution's argument that Blagojevich wanted to "break" the Constitution and appoint someone to Emanuel's congressional seat.
  • After questioning Blagojevich about the alleged senate seat shakedown, Chicago Academy shakedown, racetrack shakedown and Children's Memorial Hospital shakedown, the prosecution turned Tuesday to Blagojevich's alleged shakedown of construction executive Gerald Krozel with Tollway bills.
  • Monday, prosecutors used the ex-governor's own words on tape to try and convince the jury he's been lying from the witness stand. Attorneys went through transcripts word by word with Blagojevich on the stand, trying to point out places the tape contradict the testimony. At one point, Blagojevich said he knew what the transcripts said, but that wasn’t what he meant.
  • Blagojevich also denied offering to trade a senate seat for a cabinet position, but the prosecution pointed to tapes where Blagojevich discussed such a deal, even using the word “trade”. Blagojevich admitted to the discussions and throwing out ideas, but insisted the idea of Health and Human Services secretary was far-fetched, and said "I'm a Cubs fan. I'm keeping hope alive."
  • Blagojevich finished his testimony at 3:40 p.m., after 27 total hours on the stand.
  • On Wednesday morning, the defense will call their two remaining witnesses and the prosecution plans to call one rebuttal witness. Closing arguments will be given on Wednesday afternoon, and deliberations should begin on Thursday.


UPDATE:  3:45 p.m. 
As Blagojevich left the stand, he tried to shake the prosecutor's hand. The prosecutor ignored him. Blagojevich tapped him on the shoulder. The prosecutor ignored him.

Lest the jury think that the prosecutor was unnecessarily being a jerk, the judge told them that legally speaking, the prosecution is not allowed to have physical contact with the defendant.


UPDATE:  3:35 p.m. 
Blagojevich confirms that at the Oct. 22 FOB fundraising meeting, they agreed Robert would call Magoon.

The defense asked Blagojevich about the Lisa Madigan deal and how he wrote in his book he directed Harris to see if everything was properly positioned. Blagojevich wrote the Madigan deal was in the embryonic stages, and that meant that if Rahm Emanuel was on board they could make that deal and he could accomplish all that he talked about. On Dec. 8, Blagojevich understand the ball to be moving in this direction.

Blagojevich said again that he wanted to make the Senate seat appointment by Jan. 6, 2009, the date Rezko was to be sentenced. Blagojevich said he was not involved in criminal activity with Rezko. He said if Rezko was sentenced on Jan. 6, 2009, that would clear him and give Blagojevich a clean bill of health and then all parties would be willing to work with him on the Madigan deal. And if he had to appoint himself, he would be more appealing to those in Washington, D.C. Blagojevich said he went to bed on Dec. 8 with the Madigan deal as his top choice, to be done on Jan. 6, 2009, and that the call with Greenlee that night was the last one he made before he was arrested.

The defense is done with re-direct, and the prosecution has no further questions.


UPDATE:  3:05 p.m. 
The defense asked Blagojevich about the tollway projects, and about the Oct. 2008 meeting at FOB offices with Wyma, Vondra, and a man from British Petroleum. Blagojevich confirms he still talked about asking Vondra for fundraising even though the state wasn't going to build the western access road near O'Hare that he wanted.

The defense then asked Blagojevich about the Sept. 18, 2008 meeting with Krozel at FOB offices. Blagojevich confirms he mentioned the $1.8 billion tollway project to Krozel and he didn't seem too happy with it because it wasn't as big as Krozel wanted it to be. Blagojevich said he didn't discuss the $6 billion program with Krozel at this time because he wasn't holding it up and there were several reasons he didn't want to do it: no legislative approval; it would raise tolls for drivers; and it would weaken his efforts to have the capital bill passed, which would have created more jobs statewide.

The defense asked about Children's Memorial Hospital and Magoon. Blagojevich said when he first talked with Dusty Baker, he wasn't quite sure what Magoon wanted, so he called Magoon when he got off the phone with Baker. After talking to Magoon, Blagojevich called Greenlee and told him to find the money for this rate increase.

The defense asked about the Oct. 6 FOB meeting where Blagojevich asked Wyma if Magoon could raise $50,000. Blagojevich said that Wyma told him $50,000 was too ambitious and to do a potential ask of $25,000 instead. Blagojevich said Wyma wasn't "given the assignment" to call Magoon; he said that Wyma, Monk, and his brother were all responsible for calling certain people on the list.

In another October meeting, Wyma said he had not yet called Magoon and said Robert Blagojevich should do so because he was the FOB fundraising chair. Blagojevich said he never called Magoon for the fundraiser.

Blagojevich said he called Greenlee about Robert told him Magoon wasn't returning his calls. In the Greenlee call, Greenlee said the rate increase hadn't gone through yet and it could be held back for budget reasons if need be. When Blagojevich said "good to know" in this call, he said he only mean "thanks for the information." Blagojevich said he didn't know that the rate increase had been held up until he was arrested and he was shocked to find out.

Court is on a break.


UPDATE:  2:59 p.m. 
Blagojevich testified he talked to Bill Quinlan about his concerns regarding Chris Kelly and the racetrack bill. The defense asked about a 9:09 a.m. Dec. 4, 2008 call between Blagojevich and Lon Monk in which Monk said he was going to tell Johnston to get them the “f***ing” money.

Blagojevich testified he understood Monk to be saying he wasn’t going to cross the line when talking to Johnston and that the bill had nothing to do with the fundraising.

Blagojevich confirmed he had various conversations about campaign fundraising but the money didn’t go to him personally.

Monk said it was better for Blagojevich to call Johnston “from a pressure point of view.” Blagojevich testified Monk was telling to call Johnston because that would put some pressure on Johnston.

Blagojevich testified he didn’t call Johnston and chose not to after thinking about what a “pressure point of view” meant.

The bill had been in the governor’s office for about two weeks when Blagojevich was arrested.

The defense questioned Blagojevich about John Wyma and Gerald Krozel. Blagojevich said it was not true that he told Wyma if the road builders didn’t deliver, “f*** ‘em.” Blagojevich said it was “absolutely not true” and “bunk.”

Blagojevich said he wouldn’t hurt someone politically if they didn’t help him.


UPDATE:  2:51 p.m. 
After a short sidebar, the defense asked Blagojevich about the Chicago Tribune and what he did in response to negative editorials about him.

Blagojevich testified he recalled John Harris speaking with Nils Larsen and Blagojevich told Harris he knew what to say.

Blagojevich confirmed the state was working with the Tribune Company to fix Wrigley Field without legislative approval, and at the same time, Tribune reporters were writing negative articles about him supporting his impeachment. Blagojevich testified the Tribune was accusing him of doing what the Tribune itself was doing on another issue -- getting a Wrigley rehab done without legislative approval.

The judge sustained an objection when Blagojevich asked if he had concerns about the Wrigley deal, and sustained another objection twice when Blagojevich was asked if he thought negative editorials might stop the Wrigley renovations.

The defense turned to the Chicago Academy grant, the alleged shakedown of a school in Emanuel’s congressional district. Blagojevich testified he asked Harris to look into whether one or two grants had been approved for the school since Blagojevich wasn’t sure of the number.

Regarding the racetrack bill and his bill review process at the time, Blagojevich said he had a group assigned to monitor and follow all bills that were filed to review them. Once they were passed, the group would give Blagojevich a “cliff notes” version of the bill, which he would then review with his advisers.

Despite the process, Blagojevich testified he had not been given a review analysis of the racetrack bill as of Dec. 8, 2009, and he wanted to review it with his advisers before signing it to make sure there was no “poison pill language” or to see if a bill was a candidate for his “rewrite to do right” campaign.

Regarding a Thanksgiving 2008 call from Chris Kelly during which Kelly mentioned seeking a presidential pardon, Blagojevich confirmed Kelly had a business relationship with racetrack owner John Johnston at the time. Over that Thanksgiving weekend, Blagojevich testified he became concerned about Kelly’s connection to the racetrack bill and him using the bill to get a pardon.


UPDATE:  2:17 p.m. 
After its objection-plagued line of questioning on a Nov. 8, 2008 call between Blagojevich and Emanuel, the defense returned to asking about Jackson Jr. The defense asked Blagojevich if he mentioned fundraising when talking to Fred Yang about Jackson Jr.

The defense asked Blagojevich about a Dec. 5, 2008 call between Blagojevich and his brother in which he told Robert not meet with Raghuveer Nayak and it was “too obvious.” Blagojevich testified he was trying to conceal the meeting.

Blagojevich testified from a press conference on Nov. 5, 2008, during which he talked about filling Obama’s vacant senate seat, until he was arrested, he hadn’t decided what to with the seat and was thinking about appointing himself along with others including Oprah Winfrey.

Blagojevich testified again he was going to make the senate seat decision in “good faith.”

The defense asked about a Nov. 6, 2008 meeting Blagojevich had with Tom Balanoff and Blagojevich confirmed he floated the Health and Human Services secretary idea to Balanoff at the time. Blagojevich testified he saw him as an emissary from Obama at the time, but also saw Balanoff as having no authority to make a deal. Blagojevich testified he understood that he needed to talk to David Axelrod to make any deals based on what Balanoff and Andy Stern told him Nov. 3, 2008.

From Nov. 1 to 4, Blagojevich testified he discussed if he should call Axelrod regarding Valerie Jarrett and the senate seat. Blagojevich testified Axelrod never called him and he never told anyone to call Axelrod.

When talking Balanoff on Nov. 6, Blagojevich testified he brought up the HHS position but not in exchange for the senate seat. Blagojevich testified he threw it out to Balanoff as a “feeler” to test the waters because it was part of Balanoff’s job as an emissary.

Referencing a few calls, Blagojevich said Balanoff was a “channel that was open” to him as the appointed go-between Blagojevich and Obama. When asked if the Axelrod channel was open to him, Blagojevich said he never took it. Blagojevich testified he threw out the HHS post to Balanoff, and when he said in a call to advisers that he would appoint Jarrett “in a heartbeat” if it was available, Blagojevich testified he never actually said that Balanoff.

The defense asked Blagojevich about the idea to create a nonprofit 501 (c)(4) organization in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to the senate seat, and Blagojevich testified he spoke to his advisers about it several times.

Blagojevich confirmed every potential option for the senate seat was a stalking horse that he pitted against each other to see what he could get.


UPDATE:  1:56 p.m. 
During lunch, the defense filed a motion asking the court to admit the call from Nov. 8, 2008 between Blagojevich and Rahm Emanuel, saying it refutes the prosecution’s suggestion that Blagojevich tried to “break” the constitution and appoint a replacement for Emanuel’s vacated congressional seat.

When court resumed from lunch, the defense returned to questions about the Nov. 8 call and whether Blagojevich wanted to violate the Constitution to appoint Emanuel’s replacement, running into a number of sustained objections from the prosecution.

Blagojevich testified that after a call with Fred Yang about appointing someone to Emanuel’s seat, the issue was not discussed again.


UPDATE:  12:43 p.m. 
Before the defense began its re-direct, the judge warned Blagojevich that while it’s permissible to talk over his own attorney’s objections to prosecution questions -- since it’s Blagojevich’s right to do so -- it is not okay for Blagojevich to talk over any objections the prosecution makes and he has to stop talking when that happens.

The defense began its re-direct by asking Blagojevich about Jackson Jr. and the senate seat. Blagojevich confirmed he said earlier that he was never going to appoint Jackson Jr. and that was true from Oct. 2008 to Dec. 9, 2008.

The defense asked Blagojevich to explain his comment in phone call that Jackson Jr. supporters were offering “tangible political support.” Blagojevich testified “political support” has several meanings, but it might mean another lawmaker publically expressing his support for Blagojevich or Blagojevich’s policies, or getting other lawmakers and leaders to support Blagojevich. As for tangible, Blagojevich said he used that word in terms of getting good stuff done for the people of Illinois.

When the defense tried to ask Blagojevich for examples of it, as in the Madigan deal, the prosecution objected and the judge sustained.

The defense had Blagojevich recap how he was using Jackson Jr. to get politicians in Washington D.C. to help him with the Madigan deal and how both Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Bob Menendez had offered to help with it. Blagojevich testified, however, that the Madigan deal couldn’t happen until Rahm Emanuel “signed off” on it. Blagojevich said he needed Emanuel to be the one to contact Mike Madigan about the deal.

Blagojevich went on to say Lisa Madigan was his top pick for the Senate and that either himself or Jacskon Jr. was number two. That was the case on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4, 2008, Blagojevich said, because Gery Chico couldn’t do anything for him politically like Madigan and Jackson Jr. could.

The defense turned to the Dec. 5, 2008 phone call in which Blagojevich told his brother not to meet with Raghuveer Nayak because it was “too obvious.” Blagojevich testified he said that because the Chicago Tribune ran a story that day about John Wyma possibly wearing a wire and recording Blagojevich’s conversations, and that he had a “fire to put out” in the media because of the story. Blagojevich testified he had to get past the idea that his friend may have done this to him.

Blagojevich also testified the Nayak meeting wasn’t that important to him and the Nayak idea was just starting to form. He was thinking out loud with his brother when he said to tell Nayak they needed to see political support up front because Jackson Jr. had double crossed him in the past, Blagojevich testified.

The former governor went to say he never asked Jackson Jr. to fundraise for him, and everybody knows that Jackson Jr. doesn’t fundraise for anyone else.

The defense asked Blagojevich about where he tells Robert in a call “we’ll talk more on how to do it.” Blagojevich testified he meant how Robert should talk to Nayak when they meet. Blagojevich testified he had a busy day, including a fundraiser and seeing the Jim Hendry Street signs put up. Blagojevich added that Hendry is still the Cubs general manager and the Cubs lost that night.

The judge sustained an objection when the defense tried to talk about Blagojevich thinking about appointing himself to the Senate, and again when the defense asked about a Dec. 8, 2008 phone call in which Harris told Blagojevich Emanuel could get involved in the Madigan deal.

After another objection to a question about a Nov. 8, 2008 phone call, attorneys went into a sidebar as the defense asked to play the call between Blagojevich and Emanuel, a call not yet heard in court.

The jury was sent to lunch as the attorneys discussed the tape. In the transcript, Blagojevich tells Emanuel he would appoint “his guy” if Blagojevich could do it. The defense wanted to artgue Blagojevich meant making the appointment legally. The judge ruled they couldn’t play the tape, and told the defense to give the prosecution a list of any new tapes they plan to play on re-direct.


UPDATE:  12:02 p.m. 
The prosecution turned to a phone call from 2:09 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2008 between Blagojevich, Bob Greenlee and Fred Yang. In the call, Yang asked if the deal was just that the Jacksons would support Blagojevich for reelection, and Blagojevich said there was more than that -- there was “tangible” political support, “specific amounts,” some of which was “up front.”

Blagojevich confirmed he said the words specific amounts and up front, and testified he was telling Yang about the money illegally offered by Nayak.

Later in the call, Yang says he doesn’t know what tangible thing Jackson Jr. can offer and Blagojevich says his supporters “can be helpful.”

Blagojevich goes on to say Jcakson Jr. wants it badly and can offer support, and Blagojevich said he can cut a better political deal with Jackson Jr. but would need “a lot of down payment.”

Blagojevich confirmed on the stand that 15 minutes later, he called his brother. The prosecution turned to a call from 2:43 p.m. on Dec. 4 between Blagojevich and his brother, Rob.

Blagojevich confirmed he asked his brother to reach out to Raghuveer Nayak to help fundraise for him. The prosecution asked if it was the same Nayak who offered him money illegally to appoint Jackson Jr. to the Senate, and Blagojevich said yes. He also confirmed he and his brother talked about appointing Jackson Jr. the Senate in the call.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich if he directed his brother to tell Nayak that naming Jackson Jr. was now a real possibility. Blagojevich testified he told his brother not to break any rules. The prosecution read from the call transcript, in which Blagojevich tells Robert to tell Nayak promises are good, but that Jackson Jr. had double crossed him before and “some of the stuff's gotta start happening now.”

Blagojevich also told his brother to be careful and “assume everybody's listening, the whole world's listening.”

The prosecution asked if Blagojevich was telling his brother to not get caught, but Blagojevich testified no, he was telling his brother to keep it legal.

The prosecution turned to a recorded conversation from 7:25 a.m. on Dec. 5, 2008 between Blagojevich, his brother, his wife and Bill Quinlan.

In the call, Blagojevich tells his brother not meet with Nayak that day, which Blagojevich testified he said because he couldn’t meet with his brother beforehand and his “world was rocked” by a Chicago Tribune story that John Wyma was possibly wearing a wire.

The prosecution asked if Blagojevich still had time to attend another fundraiser that day and attend the Jim Hendry Street signs being put up, and Blagojevich said yes, those were higher priorities, and he’s a Cubs fan.

The prosecution argued Blagojevich didn’t tell his brother he was too busy to meet with him, they said Blagojevich told his brother it was “too obvious” right then because of the Tribune story for the Nayak meeting to happen. Blagojevich said yes.

The prosecution ended its cross-examination of Blagojevich and the court took a short break while the defense decided whether it wanted to ask more questions on re-direct.


UPDATE:  11:42 a.m. 
Court resumed after a short break and the prosecution asked Blagojevich if it was fair to say he wasn’t a big fan of Jesse Jackson Jr. Blagojevich said that was true.

When the prosecution asked about Blagojevich’s relationship with Jackson Jr., Blagojevich testified he did not ask Jackson Jr. to fundraise for him when he ran for governor, and that’s not why he didn’t appoint Jackson Jr.’s wife Sandi to the Illinois Lottery Commission when Jackson Jr. asked him to do so after Blagojevich became governor.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich about Oct. 28, 2008 and a conversation in which Robert Blagojevich talks to his brother about a conversation he had with Rajinder Bedi. In the call, Robert told Rod that there would “accelerated fundraising” if Jackson Jr. was appointed to the Senate.

Blagojevich testified his brother, Rob, didn’t mention “political support” from Raghuveer Nayak or Rajinder Bedi in the conversation.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich about attending an India House fundraiser in early Dec. 2008. Blagojevich said he learned either at that event or just before it that Nayak was offereing $1.5 million in exchange for appointing Jackson Jr. to the senate seat, including $500,000 raised up front and the rest later, either from Jackson Jr. or Nayak.

The prosecution asked if Blagojevich understood Nayak to be offering money in exchange for the Jackson Jr. appointment, and Blagojevich said he did and that it was illegal.

The prosecution asked if it was a bribe, and Blagojevich testified it was illegal. The prosecution again asked if it was a bribe, and Blagojevich said he viewed it as illegal and his brother properly told them no three times. Blagojevich testified he never stopped and thought about it as a bribe.

Blagojevich confirmed that discussions he had about Jackson Jr. on Dec. 3, 2008 were an attempt to raise awareness that Jackson Jr. could get the seat.

Turning to his phone call with Harry Reid about Jackson Jr. and the seat, Blagojevich confirmed that Reid offered to help him with his senate seat decision.

Blagojevich confirmed he talked to Sen. Bob Menendez later that day, and Menendez indicated he’d be prepared to help Blagojevich with the Madigan deal.

Blagojevich also confirmed that he had Harris tell Jackson Jr. he was still in the running for the appointment.

On Dec. 4, 2008, Blagojevich confirmed he testified earlier he wasn’t going to appoint Jackson Jr. to the seat and that he also had not ruled out Jackson Jr. “as a pick.”

The prosecution asked about a recorded conversation from 11:23 a.m. on Dec. 4, 2008 between Blagojevich and Harris. In the call, Blagojevich tells Harris he is “war gaming” with Fred Yang and honestly looking at Jackson Jr. for the senate seat.

The prosecution asked if Blagojevich was looking positively on the Madigan deal the morning of Dec. 4, and Blagojevich said yes. For a moment, he wasn’t going to appoint her because of something that happened, Blagojevich testified, but then she was back on top.

Blagojevich confirmed he told Doug Scofield that night that he wasn’t ready to “pull the trigger” on anyone for the seat.

The prosecution asked Blagojevich about a call from the afternoon of Dec. 4 , asking if Blagojevich told his brother to talk to Nayak about fundraising. Blagojevich testified he was not telling his brother to do that.

In the call, Blagojevich tells his brother that Nayak had offered money in exchange for Jackson Jr. to be appointed to the Senate. Blagojevich again testified the offer had been rejected.

In the call, Blagojevich says “some of it can be tangible up front,” and Blagojevich confirmed those were his words.

Returning to the call from 11:23 a.m. on Dec. 4, Blagojevich confirmed that when he says that Jackson Jr. has come to him through others with offers of campaign contributions around $1.5 million, that he was talking about the illegal fundraising offered by Nayak.

Blagojevich testified after that call, he went to a fundraiser on Lincoln Ave. and went back to his house afterward.


UPDATE:  11:19 a.m. 
The prosecution asked Blagojevich again if he told Krozel there were going to be more Tollway programs announced after Blagojevich announced the $1.8 billion program. Blagojevich testified it was only in connection with the capital bill.

Blagojevich testified he was not for the $6 billion program without the capital bill.

Regarding an Oct. 6, 2008 meeting, the prosecution asked Blagojevich if he told Monk, essentially, if those getting the Tollway money don’t step up, f*** ‘em. Blagojevich testified that was false.

The prosecution asked if the Oct. 6 meeting was about government, and Blagojevich said it was. Michael Vondra and a man from British Petroleum were at the meeting at Friends of Blagojevich offices, during which state issues were discussed. After the two men left, Blagojevich confirmed he asked John Wyma if Vondra could help them fundraise. The prosecution noted this was not long after Vondra had just asked Blagojevich for help, and Blagojevich said yes.

Blagojevich testified he didn’t remember talking to Wyma about the Tollway bills that day. Blagojevich testified he did know Vondra would be interested in Tollway money, but that was not on his mind during the Oct. 6 meeting.

The prosecution asked if Vondra being able to fundraise came up after Vondra left the Oct. 6 meeting and Blagojevich confirmed that, saying “there’s work for him at the Tollway now and next year there could be a lot of stuff.”

Blagojevich testified later that day, they told Vondra they couldn’t help him with his issue with British Petroleum, but they still wanted to know if he could fundraise for them. Blagojevich testified the economic and commerce development department said they couldn’t help Vondra with his project.

Blagojevich confirmed that at the Oct. 6 meeting, he, Monk and Wyma went over a fundraising chart of potential contributors. Earlier, Blagojevich testified they talked about every name on the list and some names that weren’t on it.

The prosecution said most of the names on the list were clients of Wyma’s, and Blagojevich testified he wasn’t sure if they were clients of Wyma’s or if Wyma had “relationships” with them.

The court went on a short break as the prosecution wanted to turn to questions about Jesse Jackson Jr.


UPDATE:  10:35 a.m. 
The prosecution asked about a Sept. 24, 2008 lunch meeting between Blagojevich, Krozel, Monk and two new executives at Prairie Construction, where Krozel worked.

Blagojevich said the purpose of the meeting was to make Krozel look good to his new bosses.

Blagojevich testified that, if he talked about a $6 billion program in addition to a $1.8 billion Tollway project he was planning to announce, he talked about it only in connection with the capital bill. The prosecution asked if Blagojevich talked about the $6 billion project without mentioning the capital bill, and Blagojevich said “I don’t believe I did.”

The prosecution asked if at the lunch, Blagojevich told Krozel and the executives that he had the power to approve the $1.8 billion project without legislative approval, and Blagojevich testified it was very possible he could have said that.

The prosecution asked if Blagojevich said at the meeting he also had the ability to pass the $6 billion project alone. Blagojevich testified he couldn’t imagine that he would have said that, since his advisers told him he needed legislative approval for that dollar amount.

Blagojevich testified he expected Krozel to fundraise for him because he had done so in the past, but Blagojevich didn’t know what to expect from Krozel’s bosses. Blagojevich testified the meeting was not part of his fundraising efforts.

Blagojevich confirmed he announced the $1.8 billion program on Oct. 18, 2008.

The prosecution asked about another fundraising meeting at the Friends of Blagojevich offices in Oct. 22, 2008. Blagojevich confirmed he personally called Krozel and talked to him about the $1.8 billion announcement and that he told Krozel he was “excited” about the program. Blagojevich then asked Krozel how he was doing with fundraising and said that he needed it by the end of the year.

Blagojevich confirmed he told Krozel they were “off and running” regarding the Tollway project and that there would be more. The prosection asked Blagojevich if “more” was the $6 billion program, but Blagojevich testified he was talking about the capital bill.

When Blagojevich got off the phone with Krozel, he confirmed, he didn’t say anything about hw far Krozel had gotten in fundraising for him, just that Krozel was “working it.” Blagojevich testified he didn’t think Krozel was going to get the money, but didn’t tell his brother or Monk to stop pursuing Krozel for fundraising because he was “keeping hope alive.”

The prosecution rattled off a number of dates in Nov. 2008 on which Blagojevich spoke to his brother and Monk about Krozel’s fundraising, and the answer he kept getting back was “bupkis, bupkis, bupkis,” or nothing.


UPDATE:  10:13 a.m. 
Court was called into session for the day with the prosecution questioning Blagojevich about Tollway projects he had the power to announce as governor and construction executive Gerald Krozel.

Blagojevich confirmed he wanted Krozel to raise campaign funds for Friends of Blagojevich and he asked Lon Monk to arrange a meeting between them on Sept. 18, 2008.

Blagojevich testified the principal purpose of the meeting, which took place at FOP offices, was to ask Krozel to raise money for him. Blagojevich confirmed he did discuss some state business, as in the Tollway bills, with Krozel at the meeting despite saying he always wanted to keep politics and fundraising separate.

Blagojevich testified in his mind, Krozel would not feel “obligated or pressured” to help fundraise for him after Blagojevich told Krozel about the Tollway projects.

The prosecution asked if Blagojevich indicated to Krozel that he wouldn’t go through with any other Tollway plans unless they were part of the capital bill, as he said in direct examination. Blagojevich confirmed he did not tell Krozel he had the authority to make the $6 billion Tollway project happen.

Blagojevich testified he couldn’t remember what he and Monk talked about after Krozel left the meeting, but he testified Monk was the point person to interact with Krozel on fundraising.


UPDATE:  9:27 a.m. 
Blagojevich arrives at the Dirksen Federal Building.  

Rod Blagojevich Scandal: More Key Players

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