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

Robert Blagojevich: $6M Jackson emissary Raghu Nayak is a "likable exaggerator"

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney

Rod Blagojevich laughs as his brother bristles at the prosecutor's questions. Prosecutor Chris Niewoehner continues to try to pin him down and Robert comes back with adamant, indignant responses.

At one point, Robert said he was happy to meet with a "billionaire cousin" of Indian community leader Raghu Nayak, but not for the potential donation.

"I was looking forward to meeting a fellow Republican," he said, not smiling. But the courtroom gallery laughed, as did Rod Blagojevich.

Robert Blagojevich testifies that he didn't take it seriously when Nayak offered to raise $6 million for his brother if the governor would appoint Jesse Jackson Jr. to the Senate.

"Raghu Nayak is a very nice man. And he's prone to exaggerate," Robert testifies, adding that he had no expectations of Nayak's "billionaire cousin."

Niewoehner asks Robert why, if he had no thoughts of entertaining that offer, he would talk about both fund-raising and the Senate seat appointment in the same conversation.

"You didn't take the opportunity to remind Nayak that these were two different things?" Niewoehner asks. Robert says he didn't think it was necessary.

Robert says again that as a fund-raiser, donors came to him with demands of the governor -- but he didn't seek them out.

"Unfortunately, government came to me. I didn't go to it. People came to me with issues," Robert testifies.

Niewoehner asks if, when Robert met with general counsel Bill Quinlan about fund-raising rules, he was instructed that he could blur the line between fund-raising and government if "government came to him."

"Let's be realistic," Robert says. "In the real world, you're out there fund-raising and people come to you and talk to you about government issues."

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on July 20, 2010 11:54 AM.

Robert Blagojevich: As a fund-raiser, "outrageous" requests from donors are part of the job was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich trial: Prosecutors work up to key phone call in Robert Blagojevich cross-examination is the next entry in this blog.

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