Rod Blagojevich Retrial Continues with Patrick Magoon's Testimon - FOX 32 News Chicago

Rod Blagojevich Retrial Continues with Patrick Magoon's Testimony

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Testimony resumed Monday as the retrial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich enters its third week of witnesses. Children's Memorial Hospital CEO Patrick Magoon, the subject of the alleged hospital shakedown, testified Monday afternoon.

Complete Rod Blagojevich Trial Coverage >>

Key Points :

  • Lobbyist John Wyma, a friend and former aide to Blagojevich, was back on the witness stand Monday morning. It was Wyma who triggered the federal probe into the ex-governor's alleged shakedowns when he agreed to cooperated with federal investigators in fall 2008.
  • Testimony this week is expected to move beyond Blagojevich's alleged attempt to sell the senate seat once held by President Obama to other alleged shakedowns. After Wyma, prosecutors expect to call Children's Memorial CEO Patrick Magoon to the stand. He testified at the first Blagojevich trial that Blagojevich demanded a campaign contribution before he would approve an increase in reimbursements for doctors at Children's and other hospitals around the state.
  • In response to a motion filed by the Chicago Tribune, redacted versions of four responses from the prosecution to motions in the case were unsealed Monday.  (Read: PDF 1 , PDF 2 , PDF 3 , PDF 4) The judge also denied a motion by the defense asking for the release of FBI interviews with Obama, saying Obama likely didn't know about the alleged senate seat shakedown.

 

UPDATE:  4:15 p.m.  
Krozel was in charge of fundraising at Prairie Construction.

After a lunch meeting with Blagojevich, Monk, and officers of Prairie Construction, Krozel said Monk wanted to know if he was going to raise any money. Krozel said he did not tell Monk no, since he was concerned that answer would put the $6 billion road improvement program in jeopardy.

The prosecution showed Krozel a press release from Oct. 15, 2008 regarding the $1.8 billion Tollway project. It does not mention any other projects totaling $6 billion.

Krozel talk with Blagojevich after this press release, and said that the Governor said more road projects would come. Then, Blagojevich asked for a status update on Krozel's fundraising. Krozel told him he was working on it (even though he wasn't). He didn't tell Blagojevich the Illinois Road Builders Association had been subpoenaed in Oct. 2008 about campaign fundraising.

The defense objected and the judge sustained.

The judge sent the jury home for the day. Court will resume at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. The next witnesses will be Lon Monk and John Johnston.

 

 

UPDATE:  3:50 p.m.  
Krozel said he didn't think Blagojevich could get the legislature to pass other parts of the Capital Improvement Bill because his popularity was waning.

Krozel said that Blagojevich delayed announcing the $1.8 billion road improvement project, and that it was dependent on how much money Krozel could raise.

Krozel said people needed work and the bill was important.

 

 

UPDATE:  3:45 p.m.  
Krozel said that Blagojevich wanted him to fundraise before Jan. 1, 2009, when the new ethics law went into effect. Krozel said he told Blagojevich he'd get back to him. Blagojevich brought up a few road construction projects, and before the meeting was over, Blagojevich brought up fundraising again.

Krozel said he understood Blagojevich wanted him to raise campaign money and that the road improvement projects were dependent on the fundraising.

 

 

UPDATE:  3:25 p.m.  
The jury is back in the room. Goldstein asks Magoon if he understood the rate increase was going through as of Dec. 8, 2009. The prosecution objected, and the defense is done.

The prosecution called the next witness, Gerald Krozel, a construction executive. At the last trial, Krozel testified about the alleged Tollway shakedown.

 

  UPDATE:  3:20 p.m.  
With the jury still out of the room, the judge allowed Goldstein to ask Magoon a few questions regarding events after Dec. 9, 2008, to see if they can be asked in front of the jury later on.

Magoon said he base salary in 2008 was around $600,000. He was the chair-elect of the Illinois Hospital Association, a group which lobbies and has a political action committee which donates to politicians. Magoon said he did not know dollar amounts that might have been given.

Magoon personally contributed $500 to $1,000 to Blagojevich between 2002 and 2008, and also held fundraisers for other politicians, including John Cullerton.

Magoon said the pediatric rate increase took effect in the first quarter of 2009.

Magoon said he was uncomfortable with the idea of telling Rob Blagojevich he wouldn't raise money. He said he had no intention of fundraising, and that putting one next to the other seemed to be an exchange.

 

The judge said that Goldstein is not allowed to ask any of these questions in front of the jury, and he will explain why later.

UPDATE:  3:05 p.m.  
Goldstein showed Magoon an attachment to an email he sent to Blagojevich.

Magoon testified again about the email he sent to his staff about the rate increase being approved, and that Blagojevich asked them to keep it quiet.

On Oct. 22, 2008, Rob Blagojevich called Magoon to secure $25,000 from board members, friends and associates. He did not threaten Magoon or the rate increase. Rob did say the money needed to be raised by Jan. 1, 2009.

Court is now on a short break.

 

 

UPDATE:  2:50 p.m.  
On cross-examination, Goldstein asked Magoon how doctors at CMH are paid; they are given salaries. Magoon also testified that he asked a board member to ask Dusty Baker to call Blagojevich.

Magoon testified that when Blagojevich called him on Sept. 23, 2008, Blagojevich said the rate increase was approved and asked for background information, but did not ask for money.

 

UPDATE:  2:45 p.m.  
Magoon testified that he met Blagojevich when Blagojevich was a Congressman, and that when he became Governor, he'd seem him once or twice a year at bill signing events at the hospital.

In June 2008, Magoon wrote to Blagojevich that if the All Kids program was going to achieve its goal, the hospital would need a rate increase to do so. He said Blagojevich did not respond.

But on Sept. 23, 2008, Blagojevich did call, and Magoon restated in an email to one of the Governor's assistants the need for a pediatric rate increase to make sure all kids covered by the All Kids program would receive access to a pediatric specialist.

Blagojevich called Magoon after he spoke with Dusty Baker, and said that he would help Magoon with the rate increase. He asked Magoon to send him a background document and made no mention of fundraising.

On Oct. 17, 2008, Magoon emailed his staff to say that Blagojevich had approved the rate increase, but that he didn't want much attention brought to the matter at this time.

Magoon said he got a second call from Blagojevich's office while he was in Florida, saying the rate increase was approved. It was going to take effect on Jan. 1, 2009, and CMH would get $10 million. But, he was told, to keep it quietly.

Magoon then got a call from Rob Blagojevich, which he returned the same day, "because he is the governor's brother," and Magoon confirmed that he wrote himself a note that the Blagojevich administration wanted $25,000 for Blagojevich by Jan. 1, 2009.

Magoon said he told Rob it wasn't appropriate to talk about this at work, and asked Rob to call him on his cell phone.

Magoon said he had no intention of raising any money for Blagojevich, and that the rate increase appeared to be linked to the donation because Blagojevich said to keep the rate increase quiet, and then Rob Blagojevich calls up asking for a $25,000 donation.

Magoon said he believed the rate increase would not be approved if he didn't raise the money.

Magoon said he knew that if Blagojevich knew there was no donation coming, he would have taken the rate increase off the table. So Magoon stopped taking his calls, and instead asking his staff to take messages.

 

 

UPDATE:  2:29 p.m.  
Court was called into session after lunch and the prosecution called Patrick Magoon to the witness stand. Magoon, 58, is the president and CEO of Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Magoon said approximately 140,000 children from around the world are treated at the hospital. He testified 90 percent of the staff of the hospital are pediatric specialists.

Magoon said a little more than 50 percent of child patients are eligible for Medicare, under which doctors are reimbursed about 33 percent of the total cost of care. Children’s Memorial Hospital loses money on Medicare reimbursement, Magoon said, but doesn’t turn away any patients.

In 2008, Magoon testified the hospital lost about $23 million due to Medicare reimbursement rates.

 

UPDATE:  2:02 p.m.  
After lunch, the prosecution wanted to call Patrick Magoon as its next witness. The defense said they wanted to ask Magoon about his involvement with the Illinois Hospital Association and any political contributions he may have made in the past.

The defense wants to show the jury that when Blagojevich wanted to “get Magoon for $50,000,” it was merely asking for a donation similar to ones Magoon made in the past.

The judge did not agree. The defense said Wyma alluded to Magoon’s past contributions in his testimony, but the judge said it was not relevant at this time.

The prosecution argued that the defense should not be allowed to ask other witnesses, like Gerald Krozel, if they made political contributions in the past, but the judge said they should wait to see where the defense goes with it and deal with it at the time.

The judge said regarding if Magoon could testify to any events after Dec. 5, 2008, he would deal with that at a later time, but before Magoon was done testifying.

 

UPDATE:  12:31 p.m.  
The jury and witness were allowed back into court and cross-examination of Wyma resumed. Wyma testified he got a subpoena in Oct., 2008 and he decided to interview with the government. Wyam said he got a lawyer before meeting with the government.

Wyma said he was testifying as part of a proffer agreement, meaning the content of what he says in court cannot be used against him, but he can still be prosecuted based on other evidence if he is involved in a crime.

The judge told the Blagojevich defense to save arguments for what a witness did not say for its closing arguments.

Wyma confirmed that the government asked him to go to an Oct. 22, 2008 Friends of Blagojevich meeting and report back, which he did.

After a few questions, the judge warned the defense that they were getting too close to closing arguments and asked them to wrap up.

Wyma confirmed that in a Nov. 13, 2008 phone call with Doug Scofield, Wyma and Scofield spoke about Blagojevich wanting a 501 (c)(4) nonprofit organization in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to the Senate.

After a few more objections, the defense was done with cross-examination.

The prosecution asked a few more questions of Wyma on re-direct. The prosecution asked Wyma about the Oct. 22, 2008 meeting in which Blagojevich said he didn’t want to mix government and fundraising. Wyma said he understood Blagojevich to be saying the ask should go forward, but that Blagojevich did not want to make the ask himself and so he was asking who the best person to do it would be.

The defense tried to conduct a re-cross of Wyma, but could not get a question in. Court then broke for lunch.

 

UPDATE:  11:34 a.m.  
With the jury and witness out of the room, the judge asked defense attorneys why the line of questioning about Wyma’s client Provena was relevant. The defense said Wyma entered an immunity agreement with the government about Blagojevich before Wyma spoke to them about Provena, and the defense argued the government took a sympathetic stance to Wyma’s involvement in the case against Provena since he was acting as a confidential source in the Blagojevich case.

Judge James Zagel said the issue was not relevant because Provena is not a part of the trial, and said the defense was trying to put the government on trial. Zagel said this is not the venue for that complaint and it is not relevant to the trial.

The judge said the defense’s line of questioning looked like an attempt to mislead the jury and to cloud Wyma’s credibility. The defense attorney said they were not trying to discredit the U.S. Attorney’s Office but did admit they were trying to discredit Wyma.

After more back-and-forth between the judge and defense, Zagel said the defense needs more information than it has to pursue the line of questioning about Provena. The defense did say Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine are both potential witnesses that could allow them to enter it into evidence because they also were involved with Provena.

After resuming from a short break, the defense attorney told the judge the questions he wanted to ask Wyma about Provena were allowed based on a judge’s ruling in the first trial.

The defense read part of a transcript from the previous trial. The prosecution said the defense was being misleading because it left out the part where Wyma said he merely negotiated a deal, but didn’t participate in the deal.

The prosecution argued that the Provena situation did not affect Wyma’s decision to cooperate with the govnerment.

The judge said he would adhere to his ruling and said the defense could not ask any more questions about Provena.

 

UPDATE:  11:34 a.m.  
Wyma confirmed that he got a call from Rahm Emanuel to find out why state funds had not been released to a charter school in his Chicago congressional district. Emanuel was a congressman at the time.

Wyma testified he didn’t know of any issues regarding the funding until Emanuel called about it and said he called Bradley Tusk after talking to Emanuel. Tusk said he had also received a call from Emanuel, Wyma testified.

Wyma confirmed either Blagojevich or Lon Monk asked him to ask Emanuel about having a fundraiser for Blagojevich and school funding wasn’t mentioned at the time of the request.

Wyma testified he agreed to make the request but didn’t because he thought the timing was wrong. Wyma said he made the ask after the funding issue was resolved.

The defense asked Wyma about a federal grand jury subpoena he received in Oct. 2008 regarding one of his clients, Provena, a hospital system.

Wyma testified he met with the FBI regarding the client, but the judge ruled the line of questioning was irrelevant. The judge sent the jury and witness out of the room to discuss the line of questioning.

 

UPDATE:  11:23 a.m.  
The defense began questioning Wyma on the alleged Tollway shakedown, but a prosecution’s objection was sustained.

The defense returned to asking about an Oct. 8, 2008 meeting at the Friends of Blagojevich campaign office. Wyma testified they talked about more than just Children’s Memorial Hospital at the meeting.

Wyma testified Blagojevich asked Lon Monk at the meeting if he was going to meeting with Gerald Krozel from the road builders industry.

After a few sustained objections by the prosecution, Wyma testified after a meeting, Blagojevich told Wyma he was going to have Monk ask Krozel for a $500,000 contribution. Wyma testified in the same sentence, Blagoejvich said he was going to announce a $1.8 billion Tollway project.

Wyam confirmed that Blagojevich didn’t tell him that if Krozel did not make the donation, then he wouldn’t announce the project, but Wyma testified that was the “spirit” of what Blagojevich told him.

Wyma testified Blagojevich said, “If they don’t perform, f*** them.” The hammered at the meaning of “f*** them”,

According to Wyma, the exact phrasing from Blagojevich was "I’m about to announce a $1.8 billion dollar. I could have made a larger announcement. I have Lon [Monk] going to Krozel for $500,000. If they don’t perform, f*** them."

The defense asked a number of questions about the meaning of “f*** them” but the judge sustained numerous objections. The judge told the defense to save it for their closing arguments.

 

UPDATE:  10:57 a.m.  
The defense questioned Wyma about an Oct. 9, 2008 voicemail from Rod’s brother Rob Blagojevich regarding Children’s Memorial Hospital.

Wyma testified he understood that Blagojevich wanted a contribution from Magoon because Blagojevich was doing something beneficial for the hospital, and he said that at the Oct. 22, 2008 meeting at the campaign office, the group discussed who and how to ask for a donation from Children’s Memorial in exchange for the rate increase.

At the meeting, Wyma confirmed, Blagojevich said he didn’t want to mix government and fundraising. Then Blagojevich asked who should ask Children’s for a donation, Wyma testified.

Wyma testified he and former Deputy Gov. Bob Greenlee talked about the rate increase, and then the defense asked again if Blagojevich said he didn’t want to mix government and fundraising.

 

UPDATE:  10:39 a.m.  
After a sidebar, the Blagojevich defense began its cross-examination of John Wyma. Wyma testified he met Blagojevich in 1996 to 1997 when Blagojevich had just been elected to Congress.

Wyma confirmed that his working relationship with Blagojevich became a friendship that remained intact over years. Wyma later became a lobbyist for Children’s Memorial Hospital and was paid $120,000 per year for the work.

The defense tried to ask about where the money for the pediatric rate increase to Children’s would have gone, but the judge sustained an objection from the prosecution that the line of questioning was “out of bounds.”

Wyma testified he went to three meetings at the Friends of Blagojevich campaign office, two of which were fundraising related. Wyma said Children’s Memorial Hospital was discussed at meetings on Oct. 8 and Oct. 22, 2008.

After one of these meetings, Wyma testified, Blagojevich said he wanted to “get Magoon,” which Wyma took to mean he wanted money from Magoon in exchange for the rate increase.

The defense badgered Wyma with questions asking if he told Blagojevich that Magoon could donate $25,000 but not $50,000, but Wyma replied no, he told Blagojevich the timing was wrong.

Wyma testified he told Blagojevich Children’s Memorial as a nonprofit, but said he did not tell Blagojevich it would take time to raise a fundraiser or a $25,00 contribution.

 

UPDATE:  9:48 a.m.  
Court was called into session for the day. Judge James Zagel began handling three matters before the jury was brought in for Wyma’s cross-examination.

The judge heard a motion filed by the prosecution on Friday regarding filing charts that will help summarize the "voluminous" amounts of evidence and tapes they want to present as evidence. The defense filed a response to it Monday morning.  Zagel granted the prosecution's request.

The judge also needed to hear a motion filed by the defense on Friday asking again for the release of the FBI'S report on their interview with Obama about the senate seat.  The judge denied the motion, saying that the motion assumes Obama knew about the "asks" for the senate seat and didn't report them, whereas the judge said there is no indication Obama knew about the "asks."

"In all honesty, it is quite possible that the victim [Obama] was busy with other matters at the time," Zagel said.

Third, the judge said he needed to handle a scheduling issue with the defense but wanted to talk to them in a sidebar first. Beforehand, the prosecution present issues regarding testimony on the Children's Memorial Hospital alleged shakedown and a phone call between Patrick Magoon and Robert Blagojevich, Rod's brother.

The defense also brought up an issue regarding Bob Greenlee's testimony, but the judge said he would deal with that after Wyma's testimony.  The attorneys went into sidebar with the judge.
 

 

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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