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

Blagojevich trial: What the prosecution is trying to do

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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.

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5 Comments

Another Dog and Pony show just like the OJ trial. Lets hope this time justice is served. We have put more governors in jail than any other state. When will we learn our lesson at the polls before they get into power.

Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall of Rezko's jail cell?

I agree with Taxpayer; He'll just blame it on who ever gave him the bad advise...Surely there are other way's to show the jury your fake love and concerned parent? Maybe instead of knitting she should have been scrap-booking.

And waiting in the wings? The trail of the pimp Obama for kickbacks he got for carrying the 2003 Health Facilities Planning Board legislation. Let's hear him on the Levine tapes! And no uncompleted transactions here!! Obama actually got the money--and plenty of it.

Thanks Fitzy for letting Obama and his fellow hood Biden (how's Cari doin'?) destroy the country for two years.

Better review Triple Cross to see what a clown you are.

Why would ANY concerned parent bring their children to this? The sympathy Blago may get out of it will be far outweighed by the damage this will cause to the children. Just another example of what trash the Blagojevichs are.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on July 26, 2010 11:06 AM.

Prosecutor in closing argument: "In politics, money is power" was the previous entry in this blog.

Prosecutor to jury: Robert Blagojevich lied to you; you heard him "dancing and dodging" is the next entry in this blog.

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