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

John Harris: Blagojevich had deal with Emil Jones to kill ethics bill in exchange for Obama's senate seat

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Former Blago chief of staff John Harris has just given testimony that backs up what Lon Monk told the court earlier this month -- that in 2008, Blagojevich was in cahoots with then-state senate Pres. Emil Jones to kill an ethics bill that would have seriously hindered the governor's fund-raising efforts.

Harris testified that he was "in the room" for discussions with Blagojevich's campaign staff when they were discussing the ethics bill, which would have prohibited politicians from accepting campaign cash from donors who do state business.

"It would have a significant effect on his ability to raise funds, is what I understood from him," Harris testified.

The bill had passed both houses of the legislature but, using his veto powers, Blagojevich had rewritten portions of it. Jones was being pressured to call the bill for an override vote, Harris testified, which would have passed the bill in its original form.

"I expressed my concern that I didn't think Emil would hold, that he wouldn't withstand the pressure not to hold the bill," Harris testified.

Blagojevich wasn't so concerned, though, Harris said.

"He thought Emil would hold because he knew something we didn't," Harris testified. "He told us that Emil Jones wanted (Barack Obama's) senate seat" and wouldn't go back on his "pledge."

Jones, though, did succumb to political and public pressure and called the bill.

"No way he's getting the seat now," Harris said Blagojevich told him.

Patti's sitting in the front row, wearing a black and white wrap-dress, her legs crossed, her black high-heeled shoes occasionally tapping.

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1 Comment

This is not a crime. Why isn't Zagel slapping down the prosecutors for asking about irrelevant topics? Shocking!

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on June 22, 2010 10:06 AM.

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