Robert and Julie Blagojevich both take the stand as the first defense witnesses.
Robert Blagojevich tells of an approach by Jesse Jackson Jr. fund-raiser Raghu Nayak, who, according to Blagojevich, offered up $6 million in exchange for the congressman's appointment to the Senate seat. Robert Blagojevich said he shut down Nayak and a previous meeting by Rajinder Bedi who spoke of an offer of $1.5 million for Jackson's appointment. He describes his brother as someone who changed his mind often and sometimes nagged him.
Good for Robert Blagojevich: Jurors hear of Robert Blagojevich's lengthy resume, including a distinguished military career, volunteerism, donations to charities, and successful business dealings. His lawyer, Michael Ettinger, plays new recordings. In one, Blagojevich tells an Indian fund-raiser: "Money is not going to be a factor here," with respect to a Senate seat appointment. In another, he tells his brother to appoint a candidate to the Senate because of the good it would do for the state.
Good for prosecutors: Prosecutors wasted no time in tearing into Robert Blagojevich, questioning whether he really separated fund-raising and state action. They pointed to two phone calls. In one, Robert Blagojevich suggests to his brother that Barack Obama might quash an investigation into Rod Blagojevich. He testified he suggested that out of love for his brother and that it was a naive request. In another, Rod and Robert discuss Robert approaching a former state representative to ask for a campaign contribution. The state rep was up for a state job.
1. Prosecutors continue to cross examine Robert Blagojevich.
2. Some brief witnesses, including possibly former budget director John Filan, will take the stand.
3. Rod Blagojevich then could take the stand as early as today.