Reporting with Natasha Korecki, Dave McKinney and Abdon Pallasch
Prosecutor Reid Schar argues that Rod Blagojevich knew exactly what he was doing when he tried to shake down a road-building executive, a hospital CEO, racetrack owner and countless others for campaign cash.
"He is not stupid. He is very smart," Schar said. "He didn't get elected twice ... by accident."
The ex-governor knows how to communicate in 30-second sound-bites, Schar says. "That's what he does for a living," he says.
So in conversation after conversation, Rod knew exactly how to extort and ask for a bribe without being direct.
Schar talks of Rod's power as governor, saying people under him feared retribution from a man "with complete control of millions, if not billions, of dollars."
"There's victims well beyond the evidence you heard," Schar says, referencing the people of Illinois.
Schar references a Sept. 12, 2008, conversation between Rod and Children's Memorial Hospital CEO Patrick Magoon, in which the governor said he planned to raise pediatric rates but tells Magoon to keep it quiet.
"He decides to sit on one of his number one initiatives? It makes no sense," Schar said.
That's because Rod intended on getting something in return, later sending his brother to call Magoon and ask for money, Schar says.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald arrived in the overflow courtroom a few minutes ago. He's sitting with his staff, listening intently to Schar's rebuttal.