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

Prosecutors on case: "The law doesn't require you to be a successful crook, it just requires you to be a crook."

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Reporting with Sarah Ostman and Dave McKinney

In closing arguments in Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial, Prosecutor Chris Niewoehner argues off the bat that just because the charged acts weren't completed doesn't mean the former governor didn't break the law.

"The law doesn't require you to be a successful crook, it just requires you to be a crook," Niewoehner tells jurors and a packed courtroom.

Niewoehner is addressing defense contention that this was all just talk.

Niewoehner focuses the beginning of his argument on the Senate seat sale attempts, saying that the former governor of Illinois who claimed he looked out first for the people of the state was really trying to shake down President Elect Barack Obama.
"It was a trade, it was an exchange it was a sale," Niewoehner said of the Blagojevich's alleged attempts to extract a benefit from Obama in exchange for Valerie Jarrett's appointment.
Niewoehner is spelling out various phone calls from Blagojevich himself -- to union leader Tom Balanoff and then again to union consultant and onetime Blagojevich aide Doug Scofield -- in which Blagojevich asked to be the head of a foundation in exchange for Jarrett.
"Ladies and gentlemen, these were just part of the things Rod Blagojevich was doing to make things happen," Niewoehner said of the phone calls.
"All those steps are crimes. All those attempts to sell ... are the crime."

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on July 26, 2010 9:58 AM.

Blagojevich trial: Ex-governor expressionless as government begins closing statement was the previous entry in this blog.

Prosecutor: Case is "simple" -- governor can't exchange state action for personal benefit. "You do -- that's a bribe." is the next entry in this blog.

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