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

Blagojevich trial: Former chief of staff John Harris takes the stand

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Rod Blagojevich's former chief of staff, John Harris, has just taken the stand.

Harris, 48, served as the governor's chief from 2005 to his arrest -- alongside Blagojevich -- in December 2008. Harris has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit a bribe, part of a plea deal that will get him no more than 35 months in prison.

Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton is questioning Harris about his rise to the governor's office. Today he works nights as an apprentice lineman and electrician.

Harris has testified that it's not a state of Illinois representative who offered him a chief of staff position -- but a fund-raiser of the ex-governor at the time, Chris Kelly.

Harris said he met with Kelly for coffee, where Kelly offered him the job.

"They had a team not too familiar with government ... not much government or administration experience," Harris said. "They thought I would be a valuable asset and addition to the team."

Harris is the third significant witness of the day and the second former staffer who is testifying about direct conduct they allegedly witnessed while working with Blagojevich.

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on June 21, 2010 3:56 PM.

Blagojevich deputy governor Bradley Tusk: "I was disturbed by what I heard" was the previous entry in this blog.

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