Reporting with Natasha Korecki, Dave McKinney and Abdon Pallasch
Robert Blagojevich time and time again fended off a bribe offer from members of the Indian community who offered millions of dollars if the governor would appoint Jesse Jackson Jr. to the Senate, Robert's attorney tells the jury.
Attorney Michael Ettinger re-tells the saga surrounding the alleged $6 million offer - Robert's coffee shop talk with Rajinder Bedi in which the fund-raiser brings up Raghu Nayak's lucrative offer; the taped call between Rod and Rob when they discuss the fund-raising benefits of holding off on naming a Senate successor until after two key fund-raising events; another taped call between Robert and Babu Patel in which the governor's brother says "Money is not gonna be a factor here."
Robert fought at every step, Ettinger argues.
"Listen to the tape," Ettinger urges the jury. "Listen to his voice. What does this man gotta do to tell people he's not going to be involved in this?"
Ettinger is in overtime; he's gone significantly over the one hour he said he'd need. Judge James Zagel breaks in, telling the attorney he has five minute to conclude.
"I didn't know I was timed," Ettinger said. The judge offers two extra minutes.
"This is my last topic. Can I finish it without rushing?" Ettinger said. "It might be 10 minutes."
The judge pauses. "Sure," he says.
Ettinger clearly didn't want to speed through the Jesse Jackson Jr. point - it's a key charge against his client. Still, he wraps up quickly.
"You heard (the government) prove beyond a reason doubt that he's innocent," Ettinger says. "He's an innocent man."
"Let your conscience be your guide," he says. "Remember what did this man do? What did he say? Not what his brother said to him -- what did he do?"
"Go back there and sign a not guilty verdict for all four of them," Ettinger concludes.
He's referring to the four counts against Robert Blagojevich. It was five until this morning, when prosecutors dropped one wire fraud charge.
Zagel and the lawyers are having a conference before Sam Adam Jr. begins.