After the defense finished its cross-examination of Tom Balanoff, the prosecution called former Rod Blagojevich Deputy Governor Doug Scofield to the stand, and jurors heard the now-famous “F---ing golden” audio recording.
Key Points :
UPDATE: 4:45 p.m.
Court is adjourned.
UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.
The IRS agent is testifying about the Blagojevich's credit card debt, which went from $25,000 in 2002 to $90,000 seven years later. She also said that they spent $400,000 on clothes over that same period.
UPDATE: 4:15 p.m.
IRS Agent Shari Schindler is testifying about Blagojevich's finances.
UPDATE: 3:05 p.m.
The defense is done with the cross-examination, and on re-direct, Scofield testifies that Blagojevich preferred having a 501(c)(4) to actually taking the Senate seat himself.
Then, the court went on a short break.
UPDATE: 2:56 p.m.
The defense is now asking Scofield about a call placed on Nov. 11, 2008, in which Scofield tells Blagojevich to leverage the seat for whatever is most helpful to him. Scofield also says that he doesn't think the Obama people are done negotiating on this. Scofield also testifies, in answer to a question, that he and Blagojevich had discussed the 501(c)(4) concept three or four times before this call, but this is the first time they had discussed it in connection with the Senate appointment.
Scofield also testified that Blagojevich wanted Rahm Emanuel to understand "right away" that Blagojevich is interested in having $15 to $20 million dollars raised to set up a non-profit.
UPDATE: 2:18 p.m.
The prosecution played another recorded phone call between Blagojevich and Scofield from 12:35 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2008 . In the call, Blagojevich asks Scofield to call John Wyma to tell him that Blagojevich wants to set up a 501 (c)(4) issue advocacy organization, and ask if the Obama administration can talk to George Soros and Warren Buffett about how they can help fund it.
Scofield tells Blagojevich in the call they should make clear it’s not related to “the other thing.”
Blagojevich tells Scofield he thinks Valerie Jarrett won’t want the senate seat after all, and the administration gave him four names that would be good choices: Jesse Jackson Jr., Jan Schakowsky, Tammy Duckworth and Dan Hynes. Blagojevich says they’re politically correct choices, that it seems like anything would be better to the administration than Blagojevich in the Senate and he doesn’t think the administration cares about any of the options.
In the call, Scofield says he’ll reach out to John Wyma to convey the message.
Scofield testified Blagojevich didn’t want to speak with Wyma directly because of news reports about Wyma’s clients, and if there was a federal investigation, Blagojevich didn’t want to have to answer questions about it.
UPDATE: 1:57 p.m.
Court resumed after lunch. The prosecution played a recorded conversation between Scofield and Blagojevich from 12:21 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2008 .
In the call, Blagojevich tells Scofield Sen. Dick Durbin wants to meet with him and he is getting the message that Valerie Jarrett will get an administration position instead of the senate seat. Blagojevich tells Scofield he thinks she still wants the seat, however.
Blagojevich says in the recording that he wants to get the message to Rahm Emanuel about creating a 501 (c)(4) organization and having the Obama administration help them get big donors to fund it with $10 to $15 million. He and Scofield decide to have John Harris talk to John Wyma about sending the message.
The prosecution played another recorded conversation, this one between Blagojevich and John Harris, from 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 13, 2008 . In the call, Blagojevich tells Harris that Scofield thinks Wyma is a better route to the Obama administration than Balanoff and Stern, and Harris says Scofield should talk to them.
UPDATE: 12:19 p.m.
The prosecution played a conversation between Scofield and Blagojevich from 9:37 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2008 . In the call, Scofield says he left a message with Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed's assistant about putting information in her column that Jesse Jackson Jr. was under consideration for the senate seat.
Blagojevich tells Scofield that Rahm Emanuel was using John Wyma as a messenger to tell Blagojevich that the Obama administration would be “grateful and appreciative” if Blagojevich would appoint Valerie Jarrett to the Senate.
Blagojevich asks if they can create a 501 (c)(4) and get someone like Warren Buffett to donate $10 to $15 million.
In the recording, Blagojevich says if Obama won’t give him anything, he’ll appoint Louanner Peters to the Senate because she wouldn’t run for reelection if Blagojevich asked her not to. Blagojevich says it might cover him if he’s impeached.
Scofield says in the call he thinks the Obama administration isn’t done talking to them yet. Blagojevich brings up the 501 (c)(4) organization idea again, saying that J.B. Pritzker had asked for the senate seat and he might give it to him if he could donate to the organization.
Blagojevich says in the call he thinks Obama won’t officially resign the senate seat until they have a better idea of who will be appointed in his place.
In the conversation, Blagojevich tells Scofield to “execute the Jesse Jr. thing” and then says the 501(c)(4) might be a good place for him to land.
Scofield testified Blagojevich thought Bill Knapp was pushing him to make the appointment before the lame duck session began so Illinois would have two senators when Congress reconvened. Blagojevich thought somebody from the Obama administration had gotten to Knapp to make him do so.
In a conversation between Valerie Jarrett and Blagojevich on Nov. 12, 2008, Scofield testified, they discussed news reports Jarrett was going to take a cabinet position instead of the senate seat. Scofield testified Blagojevich was skeptical about it and thought it was a ploy.
The court then took a break for lunch.
UPDATE: 12:02 p.m.
After a short break, the prosecution resumed questioning Scofield about a call with Blagojevich from 11:06 a.m. on Nov. 7, 2008.
Scofield testified Blagojevich said people around him wanted to get away from Tony Rezko and he understood that Blagojevich also wanted to get out of “Chicago politics” and go to Washington D.C.
Scofield testified Blagojevich was saying he was willing to trade his appointment to the U.S. Senate for a presidential cabinet postion.
Prosecutors played a recorded conversation from 9:07 a.m. on Nov. 10, 2008 . Scofield testified that day, he and Blagojevich talked about leaking to the media that Jesse Jackson Jr. might be a likely choice for the senate seat to let the Obama administration know there was competition. Scofield testified he reached out to Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed to give her the information.
In the recorded conversation between Blagojevich, Fred Yang, Patti Blagojevich, Bill Quinlan, Bill Knapp and Doug Sosnik, Blagojevich talks what he should say regarding his plans to not run for governor for a third term and whether he can appoint himself to the Senate.
In the recording, he confirms with the group that they’re confident he won’t get the Health and Human Service position, then asks Knapp if he thinks Blagojevich could be ambassador to India. Knapp says no, and Blagojevich asks about the Court of St. James and Russia. Knapp laughs and says no.
Blagojevich asks, “Okay, so what can I get from him? For Patti and me? Nothing. Quinlan thinks we can get Patti uh, on some corporate boards, paid corporate boards
They discuss whether Patti could serve on corporate boards, and Blagojevich complains that he’s stuck as governor while everybody passes him by. He says his family is struggling financially because the Chicago Tribune has been writing about Patti’s real estate clients.
Sosnik tells Blagojevich that if he puts an African-American in the seat, specifically Jarrett, he might get some good will from the Obama administration.
“So then they all leave town and I'm left with gridlock, a f***ing pissed off speaker, potential impeachment, and a f***ing president who's all take and no give,” Blagojevich says in the recording.
Blagojevich says in the call he thinks he might get one good day of press coverage if he picks an African-American and he’ll benefit more if he puts in an African-American pick that will be loyal to him.
UPDATE: 11:08 a.m.
The prosecution played a recorded conversation between Scofield, Blagojevich and Patti Blagojevich from 11:06 a.m. on Nov. 7, 2008 . In the call, Blagojevich talks about the Obama administration wanting Valerie Jarrett appointed to the Senate and meetings with Tom Balanoff about it. In the recording, Blagojevich says he assumes wanting to stay away from Chicago politics is a way of saying the Obama administration is concerned about the “Rezko thing.”
Blagojevich says Alexi Giannoulias has contacted them about the seat, but that Harris is going to hold off on meeting with him. He also dismisses the suggestion that the Obama administration appoints Lisa Madigan to a cabinet position to help him with Mike Madigan.
In the call, Scofield agrees to tell Balanoff Blagojevich can’t meet over the weekend and will meet with them next week.
“So [Jarrett’s] holding Health and Human Services and I'm holding a U.S. Senate seat. Okay? She's holding hers with two hands, just kinda clinging to, you know, little pieces of it. Me, I've got the whole thing wrapped around my arms, mine, okay?” Blagojevich says in the recording. “I'm willing to trade the thing I got tightly held, to her for something she doesn't hold quite as tightly. How bad do you want what I have and can you get the other person who's really got the, this, you know, who's, who had that, to do it.”
Blagojevich jokes that he can at least be ambassador to Macedonia and then they end the call.
UPDATE: 10:57 a.m.
The prosecution questioned Scofield about a Nov. 6, 2008 meeting between Balanoff and Blagojevich. Scofield testified he met Balanoff in the governor’s office around 1:30 p.m., but did not attend the meeting.
Later that afternoon, Scofield testified he saw John Wyma, who told him Balanoff had just left, so Scofield went to talk to Blagojevich about the meeting. Blagojevich told him it was a positive meeting and he conveyed that he wanted the Health and Human Services Secretary position in exchange for the senate seat, Scofield testified.
Blagojevich also mentioned a phone call with J.B. Pritzker about Lisa Madigan being interested in the seat, Scofield testified, and that Pritzker would be interested in being attorney general to replace Madigan.
Scofield testified Blagojevich advisors asked if he knew what Balanoff’s salary was and were surprised that Scofield’s rough estimate was lower than they thought.
Scofield said he and Harris talked about the idea of Blagojevich running the SEIU’s Change to Win campaign several times and Scofield tried to give whatever information he could to Harris about how the campaign worked.
When talking to Blagojevich about Madigan getting the senate seat, Scofield testified, they also talked about having her appointed to the Department of Justice instead. They also talked about leaking that Blagojevich was considering Madigan to columnist Michael Sneed.
UPDATE: 10:48 a.m.
The prosecution played an audio recording from the morning after the presidential election, from 11:06 a.m. on Nov. 05, 2008 between Blagojevich and Scofield . In it, the two discuss Balanoff as an intermediary with the Obama administration. Blagojevich also complains about NBC5 reporter Carol Marin.
Blagojevich says in the recording that he’d take Health and Human Services Secretary “in a second” and would accept a U.N. ambassadorship. Blagojevich jokes in the call, “you Russian mother******. Can you see me?”
The call has become famous for what Blagojevich says next.
“I mean I, I've got this thing and it's f******...golden,” Blagojevich says in the recording, continuing, “and I, I'm just not giving it up for f****** nothing. I'm, I'm not going to do it and I, I can always parach-, use it and f*****' parachute me there.”
In the call, Scofield tells Blagojevich there is no reason to rush and appoint someone quickly.
Scofield testified that Blagojevich was acknowledging his power to fill the senate seat and get something in return for it when says in the recording it’s “f---ing golden.” Scofield testified Blagojevich meant he could also appoint himself to “parachute” in there later.
Scofield testified when he and Blagojevich talked about appointing Blagojevich to the seat, which they did several times, Blagojevich “vehemently” disagreed with Scofield that it wouldn’t be a good choice.
At the end of the recording, Blagojevich tells Scofield he is holding a press conference that afternoon to speak publically about the process to fill the seat and asks Scofield if its worthwhile to have the press event.
Scofield testified after the recording, Blagojevich called Scofield back to conference with John Harris Lucio Guerrero and other Blagojevich staff for about a half hour.
UPDATE: 10:21 a.m.
The prosecution called its next witness, Doug Scofield, a former deputy governor to Blagojevich.
Scofield testified Balanoff called him to set up a meeting with Blagojevich on Nov. 3, 2008. The meeting was in Blagojevich’s Thompson Center office, Scofield testified, and lasted about an hour. Scofield said a range of issues were discussed since the SEIU is the largest union in Illinois, but a lot of the discussion was about what Blagojevich would like to do with the senate seat and what the president-elect would like.
Scofield testified although they talked about a number of candidates, a lot of the conversation was about Valerie Jarrett and that she might be the president-elect’s choice.
According to Scofield, Lisa Madigan’s name came up as a possible appointee due to Blagojevich’s difficulties with House Speaker Mike Madigan in passing his agenda in Springfield. Balanoff and Andy Stern said it might be better to have an African-American in the seat, Scofield testified.
After the meeting, Scofield said he walked Balanoff and Stern out and then returned to Blagojevich’s office to Blagojevich, and staffers John Harris, Bob Greenlee and Bill Quinlan. They talked about what Blagojevich would like in exchange for the seat, Scofield testified, and it was a clear discussion about it -- including Blagojevich’s interest in the Health and Human Services seat.
Scofield testified Blagojevich was intrigued that Obama may be interested in who got the senate seat and that he might be able to get something in exchange. Scofield said he told Blagojevich he didn’t think the HHS position was likely, but Blagojevich didn’t pay much attention.
Scofield testified on Nov. 5, 2008 he got a call from Balanoff saying he had a clear message from Obama to have Jarrett appointed to the Senate and asked Scofield to set up a meeting with Blagojevich, which he set for Nov. 6.
The prosecution then played the so-called “F---ing golden” audio recording .
UPDATE: 9:56 a.m.
Court was called into session. Before the defense resumed cross-examination of Tom Balanoff, the attorneys spoke with the judge about an email Balanoff sent the day Blagojevich was arrested.
Defense attorney Aaron Goldstein said after Balanoff received a phone call from the FBI early Dec. 9, 2008, he sent an email to Andy Stern saying it was very important they talk. Goldstein told the judge he wanted to question Balanoff about the email because he said it could suggest Balanoff wasn’t being shaken down by Blagojevich, and rather knew what was going on and was concerned for himself after Blagojevich was arrested.
Judge James Zagel said there was no way the jury could process Balanoff’s answer and that it would be too ambiguous to figure out what to do with it. Zagel said he didn’t see the point of questioning Balanoff on the email.
The defense argued they don’t have full access to witnesses and this is the only time they can question them, but the judge told the defense they can recall witnesses when they present their case.
Goldstein then resumed his cross-examination of Balanoff. He asked Balanoff about a Nov. 6 meeting with Blagojevich, asking if Blagojevich ever specifically demanded the Health and Human Services secretary position in exchange for Valerie Jarrett being appointed to the Senate. Balanoff testified Blagojevich did not use those specific words.
Balanoff testified he spoke to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI after Dec. 9, 2008 three or four times in preparation for his testimony.
Balanoff testified he has not been criminally charged in connection with the case and that he has not met or interviewed with defense team prior to the trial.
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. >>