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

Prosecutor Reid Schar: There is no conspiracy here -- "the time for accountability for these crimes is now"

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki, Dave McKinney and Abdon Pallasch

For the first time since Michael Ettinger delivered his closing argument yesterday, Robert Blagojevich's name is brought up in the courtroom.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar recalls Robert's testimony that he kept fund-raising and politics separate, keeping out of his brother's government affairs. But then, Schar said, Robert testified about a long list of occasions when he did mix the two.

"He's got an excuse for every one," Schar said. "It's OK because my brother asked me to ... It's OK because it's Mary Stewart's relative ... It's OK because I was trying to be courteous to a guy who was very likeable."

"There is no doubt defendant Blagojevich dragged his brother into this bribery scheme," he says, referring to Robert's charges surrounding the U.S. Senate seat.

Schar also tackles Adam's earlier remark that Blagojevich paid $500,000 in federal taxes while he was governor.

"This concept that he paid a bunch of money to taxes," the prosecutor says. "There's no special tax rate for defendant Blagojevich. He paid his fair share."

And he recalls the last tape Adam played in his closing argument, which suggested that Blagojevich's inner circle was trying to "take him down."

"There's a conspiracy of liars," Schar says. "Everyone's lying to frame defendant Blagojevich .... It's one of the great frame-ups of all time."

"What's amazing about this massive conspiracy, not only are these people lying, they somehow managed to get defendant Blagojevich on the tapes you've heard to frame himself!" he says. "Somehow they've managed to do that."

"And worse, he has a motive to commit these crimes!" he says, recalling testimony that Blagojevich was deep in debt and worried about his future career.

"The evidence in this case has proven both these defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," Schar concluded. "We ask that you provide a guilty verdict on all counts. The time for accountability for these crimes is now."

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on July 27, 2010 3:12 PM.

Prosecutor Reid Schar: Rod Blagojevich "is the accidentally corrupt governor? I mean, come on." was the previous entry in this blog.

Judge James Zagel to jury: "You've heard all the evidence and the arguments" is the next entry in this blog.

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