Reporting with Natasha Korecki
Robert Blagojevich testifies that he did call Children's Memorial CEO Patrick Magoon to ask him to hold a fund-raiser in October 2008, but maintains it had nothing to do with his brother's actions to increasing Medicaid reimbursements for the hospital.
Attorney Michael Ettinger starts by rehashing an Oct. 9, 2008, voice mail that Robert left for former Blago fund-raiser John Wyma. On that tape, Robert is heard asking Wyma his plans for soliciting a contribution from Magoon.
"I know that you're going to be following up with Children's Memorial ... just wanted to know what the next steps are and kind of what we're trying to accomplish there," Ettinger reads Robert's words from the transcript.
Robert says he felt it was his duty to follow up with Wyma about the request, but said there was nothing underhanded about it. Ettinger then asks Robert about a later conversation he had directly with Magoon.
Ettinger: Were you told to seek the contribution in exchange for government action? Robert says no.
Ettinger: "Would you have done that?"
Robert: "Absolutely not."
Robert is emphatic with these responses. As the questions are asked, Robert leans back in his witness chair, shakes his head, and then leans into the microphone with emphasis: "No."
Robert says when he spoke to Magoon about holding a fund-raiser for his brother, the hospital CEO did not seem put off by the request.
Robert: "He said, 'Well, I typically don't do this, let me check with the board.' ... He seemed in no way reluctant ... no way pushed back against me."
Ettinger: "Did he ever tell you not to call him back?"
Robert: "Not one time."
Ettinger: "Did you ever tell him, 'My brother's been good by you, have a fundraiser?"
Ettinger: "Why were you asking him for a fund-raiser?"
Robert: "He was a previous contributor."
Magoon, who testified for the government last week, said he has made contributions to Rod Blagojevich in the past, generally $500 or $1,000 per year.
Judge James Zagel has called a lunch break. Court will resume at 1:15 p.m. for attorneys -- jurors are off until 1:45.