Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Blagoevich trial: Accountant questioned about IFA nomination (and Patti gets a makeover)

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

After Thursday's theatrics, the courtroom is atwitter this morning, wondering if Blagojevich's defense team is going to play by Judge Zagel's rules. There is also some buzz over Rod and Patti's new haircuts -- Rod just got a trim, but Patti is now sporting a far more conservative bob.

So far, things have been fairly quiet. Blago attorney Sam Adam Jr. quickly finished his cross-examination of Ali Ata and the witness was dismissed.

Prosecutors then put on the stand Michael Horst, an accountant who was the other name Blagojevich's administration nominated to head the Illinois Finance Authority when Ali Ata was given the job.

Prosecutors will later argue that Horst's name was put in for cover, when really the appointment all along was going to Ata -- the man who had given Blagojevich $50,000 in campaign checks and whom Tony Rezko believed he could control.

Horst testified that he had never met then-Gov. Blagojevich.

"Did you ask Blagojevich to nominate you?" prosecutors asked Horst.

"No," Horst said.

"Do you have any idea why he did?"

"No," Horst said.

Horst said he vaguely knew Chris Kelly, another buddy to the former governor. Kelly's roofing company rented space in the same building as one of Horst's clients, he said.

Defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky cross-examined. He argued that the state could have found Horst a qualified candidate based on another state job Horst applied for.

But that resume was submitted in late 2004, prosecutors noted -- after Horst was nominated for the IFA job.

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on June 21, 2010 10:00 AM.

Blagojevich trial: Day 11 and last week's recap was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich trial: Racetrack owner John Johnston takes the stand is the next entry in this blog.

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