Reporting with Sarah Ostman, Dave McKinney and Abdon Pallasch
Prosecutors opened up closing remarks to jurors by taking on the contention that since many of the charged acts weren't completed, there was no crime.
They also poked at Rod Blagojevich's lawyer's contentions that he didn't get a dime.
"The law doesn't require you to be a successful crook, it just requires you to be a crook," Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner said.
Niewoehner pointed to hundreds of thousands of dollars that Patti Blagojevich was paid by Tony Rezko to allegedly do nothing in real estate deals.
"How many dimes are there in hundreds of thousands of dollars?" Niewoehner said.
Early on, Niewoehner took on Sam Adam Jr.'s opening statement promise that by the trial's end, jurors would know in Rod Blagojevich was innocent.
"You were going to know in your gut that Rod Blagojevich is as honest as the day is long," Niewoehner said. "Now is the time to answer those questions."
While Adam in opening statements criticized prosecutors for charging a man who is
broke, Niewoehner said the reason he was broke: the federal investigation cut off the former governor from Tony Rezko. Rezko's payments to Patti Blagojevich stopped in 2004, when state board member Stuart Levine was interviewed by the FBI, he said.
That is as close as prosecutors got to referencing the lack of a defense case by the former governor. Because prosecutors have the burden of proof, they aren't allowed to reference a defendant's lack of testimony or lack of a defense case.
"The heart of this case boils down to something very simple: The governor of the state of Illinois cannot exchange taking some state action for some personal benefit like money or a campaign contribution," Niewoehner told jurors. "You do -- that that's a bribe."
Niewoehner said the Senate seat sale attempt is just the most recent of Rod Blagojevich's crimes while he served as governor of our state.
"That very scheme was the culmination of years of dirty schemes," he said.
The remarks all came as Rod Blagojevich's family sat in court -- including, for the first time, his two daughters, Amy, 14, and Annie, 7.
Annie was taken out of the courtroom early on by her aunt, Deb Mell. She wasn't acting up but looked a bit bored sitting in the courtroom for a bit.
Niewoehner is up first, so he's giving the summary of events. His delivery is methodical and direct and purposely lacking too much passion.
His job is to go through each charge then point to all the specific examples that the prosecution believes supports the count.
Niewoehner is pointing to witnesses, particularly Lon Monk, and linking testimony from others as well as recordings to corroborate what Monk said.
Expect the government's rebuttal, from Reid Schar, to be more impassioned and really drive home why prosecutors saw fit to bring a massive case against Rod Blagojevich.