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

Blagojevich trial: Racetrack owner John Johnston takes the stand

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

John Johnston, the horse racing businessman and alleged extortion victim, has taken the stand. He is the second witness testifying with a grant of immunity.

His entrance into the courtroom was ... unconventional. Instead of waiting for a court security officer to remove the rope that cordons off the spectators from the main floor, Johnston just ducked right under it.

Johnston, wearing a pink and blue striped tie, is expected to testify that he was the victim of a shakedown scheme by the ex-governor related to a 2008 state bill that would have provided millions in subsidies to the horse racing industry.

Prosecutor Chris Niewoehner just showed a chart detailing $320,000 in campaign contributions from Johnston's business or related ones. They're showing jurors that the donations were consistent -- but they came during fund-raisers.

That will not be the scenario when Johnston describes the then-governor's alleged shakedown in 2008.

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on June 21, 2010 10:13 AM.

Blagoevich trial: Accountant questioned about IFA nomination (and Patti gets a makeover) was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich trial: Johnston testifies on racetrack bill is the next entry in this blog.

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