Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney
A larger-than-usual crowd of people and cameras gathered outside the Dirksen Federal Building this morning, the day when ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected to take the stand in his defense.
With cameras flashing, Rod and Patti walked into the building at 9:30, just moments before court was scheduled to begin. "Good morning," the ex-governor screamed at the crowd. "Something going on today?"
Someone yelled back, "Are you going on today?" Rod smiled.
Rod's brother, Robert, is now back on the stand, being cross-examined by prosecutor Chris Niewoehner. Robert comes under fire for blurring the line between fund-raising and politics -- a line that yesterday, Robert swore fervently to always uphold.
Niewoeher argues that Robert Blagojevich tried repeatedly to line up jobs for family members of people writing big checks for the governor. He points to the fact that on Nov. 8, 2008, Robert faxed the governor's chief of staff a resume for Jennifer Wu -- the niece of David Chang, a Korean community leader and Blago fund-raiser, and daughter of a $10,000 campaign donor.
Robert says he followed protocol -- but acknowledged that "sometimes (government and fund-raising) bleed over."
"Bill Quinlan told me when the line got blurred, to pass those issues on to him or (then Chief of Staff) John Harris," Robert said. "So when I was approached by Chang with a resume, that's what I did."
"But David Chang could have sent her resume to (Blago Chief of Staff) John Harris," Niewoehner said. "Jennifer Wu could have sent her resume to John Harris... That's what most people do, don't they? They put their resume into the human resource system ...They don't get their head start of getting their resume faxed to the chief of staff of the governor of Illinois."
Niewoehner then said that Chang wasn't the only fund-raiser who Robert Blagojevich tried helping. The former governor's brother responded, "You're about to tell me, who else?" putting one hand in the air.
The courtroom gallery laughed.