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

Robert Blagojevich: Sorry for the swearing -- and for the coughing fit

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

In a second tape played by Robert Blagojevich's attorneys, Robert and Rod are heard discussing Senate seat possibilities. It's an extended version of a tape the prosecution played earlier in the trial.

Robert, discussing the Senate appointment on the tape, says to make sure it's "tit for tat."

"You give something, you don't give anything away," Robert tells Rod.

The two discuss a number of different Senate possibilities. Robert tells his brother he's down on the Madigans: "I wouldn't deal with the devil like that." He's down on Jesse Jackson Jr., too: "He's a f---ing articulate incompetent."

Robert then said he'd go with Gery Chico, that appointing Chico would be a real service to the state.

"If you want an opinion, that's my opinion," Robert says of Chico. "He's (got) f---ing true-blue qualities. He's got accomplishments."

But Rod Blagojevich disagrees. He said he's leaning toward his deputy governor, Louanner Peters.

After the tape is played, Robert looks up at the courtroom, puts his hands in the air and with a touch of anger to his Southern drawl, says, "if anyone was offended by the vulgarity, I apologize. I didn't expect anyone to hear me."

Attorney Michael Ettinger asks Robert about his statement to Rod on the tape that "the only advice I can give you about (the appointment) is brotherly advice."

"I'm not a paid adviser, I'm not a paid attorney," Robert explains from the stand. "I'm his brother, and I'm just talking to him off the cuff."

On the "tit for tat" comment, Robert says he was only commenting on a political give-and-take with Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

"We had just attended a fund-raiser where he had gone at length talking about this deal he wanted to negotiate with the Madigans," Robert said. "The only thing I was advising him was if he did a deal, a political deal like that, then he should make sure he got some political benefit from doing it."

Robert then gets hit by a coughing fit taking a sip of water.

"Wrong pipe," he chokes out. He appears embarrassed and apologetic and asks the judge for five minutes. He repeatedly looked at his lawyer, coughing and holding up his hand, as if to say, "Sorry, can't do anything about it."

The judge agrees and calls a short recess.

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1 Comment

The prosecution really should of left him out of this...when it became obvious Milorad was not going to plead out they should have dropped the charges...It really makes them look like bullies.

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on July 19, 2010 2:24 PM.

Blagojevich trial: Defense plays its first tapes -- Robert Blagojevich, Bill Quinlan on fund-raising was the previous entry in this blog.

Robert Blagojevich: Thought idea of "accelerated fund-raising" to appoint Jesse Jackson Jr. was "outrageous" is the next entry in this blog.

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