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

Secret call: Blagojevich is heard plotting for perk after Emanuel call

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Prosecutors play their first secret recording of the day and it's John Harris relaying what Rahm Emanuel told him in a call the day before. He's talking to Rod Blagojevich about Emanuel conveying Barack Obama's interest in having Valerie Jarrett appointed to the senate seat.

"Should I have Barack call Rod?" Harris said Rahm asked him.

Harris said it would help, and he's heard laughing.

Harris: "You may get a call from him or Dave."

Blagojevich: "Dave who?"

Harris: "Axelrod."

Harris says he believes Obama to be serious about the appointment.

"(Obama) wouldn't leave it to osmosis or the media. He very much cares about this. It's his definite desire for Valerie," Harris says.

Blagojevich sounds almost gleeful at the thought.

At another point in the recording, Rod and Harris are heard questioning who it was that Obama wanted to see appointed -- because Emanuel did not specify in his call, they wondered if it might be a recent political favorite in Illinois, Tammy Duckworth.

Harris said it was clear Obama wanted Valerie Jarrett and not Duckworth. Rod's ears seemed to perk up.

Rod: "We should get something for that, could I? What about Health and Human Services, can I get that?"

Harris testifies that's a reference to a cabinet appointment.

Rod: "What could I honestly think I might get a shot at getting?"

Harris: "Well, besides good thing for Illinois, good thing for Illinois?"

In court, Harris said what's made clear in that conversation: "that he was seeking something for himself as well.

Back on the tape, Rod wonders what other positions may be available to him:

"I mean, what other cabinet position would be not stupid?" Rod is heard asking. "UN Ambassador?"

"Yeah, I don't think that's realistic or serious," Harris replies.

"S---, that would be cool, huh?" Blago says, laughing.

In court, Patti smiles as she listens.

The pair are also heard discussing other alternatives for the seat -- including Bill Daley, former U.S. commerce secretary and brother of Mayor Richard Daley, and Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan.

However, Harris testified, those were basically decoys, not serious alternatives.

Harris and Rod are heard discussing leaking a potential Lisa Madigan appointment to Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed.

John Harris explains from the stand: "Michael Sneed is a woman who writes a political gossip column for a local paper -- a page that a lot of politicians read before the sports."

Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton asked, then, if Harris and Rod were talking about leaking "false information" to Sneed.

"Yes," Harris testified.

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on June 22, 2010 11:01 AM.

Blagojevich trial: Rahm Emanuel pushed Valerie Jarrett two days before presidential election was the previous entry in this blog.

Rod Blagojevich on Obama: "Do they think I would just appoint Valerie Jarrett for nothing?" is the next entry in this blog.

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