Road building executive Gerry Krozel is back on the stand this morning. He's testifying about allegations that Rod Blagojevich tried to shake him down in exchange for rolling out a $6 billion public works project that would benefit his ailing industry.
Jurors just heard a tape from Oct. 22, 2008. Blagojevich, sitting in a room with Lon Monk, calls Krozel on speaker phone to follow up on earlier talks about the road building exec fund-raising for the governor.
Blago on tape: "Lon is here with me, so we just thought we'd say hello. How are you doing? We've got this end-of-the year deadline. The rules change after Jan. 1."
Krozel explains from the stand that Blago is referring to a new ethics bill that would prevent him from raising cash from people doing business with the state.
Blago on tape: "The good news is, we're off and running. We've got something going and there's going to be more."
One week before, Blago had announced a smaller, $1.8 billion project for the Illinois Tollway. The "more," Krozel says from the stand, is the promise of a bigger, $6 billion project.
Blago on tape: "The good news for you guys is -- which is the bad news for us -- after the first of the year this level of ... you know ... we won't be able to bully you guys."
Blago is heard telling Krozel that he will get another call in a couple weeks to check on his fund-raising progress.
Krozel testifies that he had no intention of fund-raising for Blago, especially since his Illinois Road Builders Association had just been subpoenaed for their campaign contributions.
His colleagues were "very very apprehensive" and didn't want to give the governor money, Krozel testified. But he wanted the project to go through, so he kept taking the governor's calls.
"He was the governor," Krozel testified. "I was afraid it could be the end of the program."