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

Blagojevich trial: John Harris says Mike Madigan deal was a sham

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Government witness John Harris, Blagojevich's former chief of staff, is back on the witness stand being cross-examined by Sam Adam Sr.

Adam is questioning Harris on Blagojevich's much-discussed efforts to strike up a deal with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Under that plan, Blago would appoint Madigan's daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, to a U.S. Senate seat in exchange for the speaker's cooperation on a statewide health care bill and a promise to not raise taxes.

These discussions with Madigan did occur, Harris said -- but they were a sham, designed to "demonstrate good will and effort" so that when Madigan did not cooperate, Blago could appoint himself to the Senate seat.

That way, Harris said, Blago could say "the reason for him to appoint himself was his inability to get Madigan's cooperation.

Witnesses were brought into those talks, Harris said, to give them more credibility.

Already this morning, the prosecution is objecting. Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton looks exasperated as she objects, squinting and shaking her head as she's standing up.

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on June 29, 2010 10:17 AM.

Blagojevich trial: Day 16 and recap was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich trial: Judge James Zagel blocks defense from playing tape is the next entry in this blog.

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