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

Blagojevich trial: Jurors learn Chris Kelly is dead

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Up to this point, jurors have been hearing a lot of testimony about Blagojevich fund-raiser and friend Christopher G. Kelly. In jury selection, many of those jurors said they had not closely followed news media coverage of the former governor's case.

Now they've heard from Lon Monk's lips what's been widely reported in the media: that Kelly is dead.

The disclosure to jurors came during Blagojevich lawyer Sam Adam Jr.'s cross-examination of Monk. Adam was asking Monk whether Blagojevich could have possibly been aware of any wrongdoing regarding a $10 billion state borrowing deal in 2003. Prosecutors have alleged that the deal was crooked, and that Blagojevich, Kelly and Monk -- along with since-convicted businessman Tony Rezko -- were positioned to someday profit from it.

Adam, through his questioning of Monk, was trying to undercut Monk's earlier testimony that Kelly -- a roofer who wasn't a government employee -- had had a private conversation with Blagojevich on the day bonds were sold.

"You're the co-conspirator. You didn't jump up and run with him?" to the meeting, Adam asked Monk.

Monk indicated he did not do so.

"Did you go to the governor and ask him what Chris Kelly said to him?" Adam asked.

"No," Monk replied.

"Where's Chris now?" Adam asked a few moments later.

"He's passed away," Monk said matter of factly.

Adam then used the testimony to point out to jurors that Kelly isn't around to corroborate what Monk claims Kelly had told him after the bonds had been sold.

In his testimony last week, Monk told jurors that Kelly had told him that he pushed Blagojevich to approve the bond sale. "It was either really going to help fund-raising or we were going to make money . . . the four of us," Monk said Kelly explained.

Eventually, Rezko was funneled a six-figure portion of a fee from that bond deal -- a fee Monk claims could have someday been shared with Blagojevich.

Blagojevich has claimed he had no idea any of this was going on.

While jurors now know Kelly is dead, they don't know how he died. Zagel has blocked any mention to jurors that Kelly committed suicide last year.

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Couldn't the fact that the alleged co-conspirator committed suicide be of relevance to this case--insofar it could be argued that he had a guilty conscience and knew he was in for some jail time? I'm surprised the judge refused this fact to be presented to the jury.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris Fusco published on June 15, 2010 10:46 AM.

Blagojevich trial: Judge cautions Adam was the previous entry in this blog.

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