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

Witness: If I waited for Blagojevich's word on matters "the state would have ground to a halt."

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Reporting with Sarah Ostman


As the testimony of Robert Greenlee wrapped up, the defense suffered another tough rebuke from the judge and the prosecution elicited more harsh words for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

In a rapid-fire redirect examination, prosecutor Reid Schar asked Greenlee whether he often took action on issues -- including researching state funding for a Children's Hospital -- before he got a nod from Blagojevich.

"If I had waited for approval from Gov. Blagojevich before I did anything with my job, the state would have ground to a halt," Greenlee said.

Blagojevich is leaning forward in his chair, staring right at Greenlee.

Schar's questions were in response to earlier questioning by defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein. Goldstein suggested that Greenlee was acting on his own when he promised funding to pediatrics -- Children's Memorial Hospital -- and that he acted on his own when he called off the funding.

Goldstein also suggested that Blagojevich had budgetary concerns when he called Greenlee in November 2008 and asked him if the funding could be held up for budgetary concerns.

"Mr. Greenlee, do you recall defendant Blagojevich coming to you ever ... with a single budgetary issue saying the state could not afford $4 million to $8 million?

"No, I don't recollect anything like that," Greenlee said.

Schar then pointed out that after Blagojevich asked about holding up funds to the Children's Hospital, he asked Greenlee to research a legislative package he could put together in exchange for appointing Lisa Madigan to the Senate seat. Blagojevich wanted an expanded health care, among other initiatives in exchange.

"At that time, when you put that list together, would it have cost billions of dollars to do the things defendant Blagojevich wanted you to do?" Schar asked.

"Billions, yes," Greenlee responded.

"Billions of dollars. In health care initiatives," Schar repeated.

Greenlee said in that case, Blagojevich never mentioned budgetary concerns.

Blagojevich is accused of holding up state money that would benefit Children's Memorial Hospital because the hospital CEO hadn't coughed up a campaign contribution.

On cross examination, Goldstein asked Greenlee a series of questions about whether he thought what he was doing with Blagojevich was illegal.

"You know it's a crime to commit bribery," Goldstein asked.

Judge James Zagel blocked the answer. Witnesses are not typically allowed to make legal conclusions unless they're deemed as experts.

"You can ask one more and then you can sit down," Zagel told him sternly.

"Can I ask one more then ask about a slightly different subject?" Goldstein tried.

"No, you can ask about a slightly different subject now," Zagel said.

It concluded with Greenlee, 35, admitting he was not charged with any crime.

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8 Comments

Rod's legal team is playing the sock-puppet game, in all of these online comment sections. Rod and his lawyer are PRETENDING to be concerned readers, who are outraged by all these false accusations, and wasting tax-payer's money. Think about it...who else would have that kind of reaction? We know better, we've heard the tapes.

Rod's legal team is playing the sock-puppet game, in all of these online comment sections. Rod and his lawyer are PRETENDING to be concerned readers, who are outraged by all these false accusations, a wasting tax-payers money. Think about it...who else would have that kind of reaction? We know better, we've heard the tapes.

I am convinced the feds will get some type of conviction, the crook was trying to sell a senate seat to benefit his political war chest. He lied to federal agents, and conspired to extort those who wanted the vacant senate seat left by president Obama, and was willing to sell that seat to the highest bidder. I want to puke all over the face of Blago especially after he went on all these reality TV shows looking to enrich his private bank accounts while tax payers are fronting the defense money for this corrupt piece of sh@ts high priced attorney's. He did more then just spit on a sidewalk, and curse everyone to kingdom come, he betrayed the Illinois tax payers who elected him. Who knows what eles he did before the feds really attached their hooks into his everyday office dealings. This guy is not only a liar, but a thief, and nothing more then a common thug, who used the office of governor for his own personal piggy bank. Please members of the jury, convict this desert rat, and let him spend sometime with that other crooked governor Ryan. Hey together they can write a fu@king book and make more money. I believe any monies made by this political gangster should be put towards the money the tax payers of Il had to spend for his defense. That 400 grand he spent on his ward robe was not only a slap in the face of tax payers but a disgrace to a person who was suppose to change the way things were being done in Illinois. He was suppose to be the so called crusader who would bring dignity back to the office of governor. Instead all he did was insert a suction tube into the arms of anyone who could make him a pile of money. This man has no dignity, is arrogant, and despises the federal agents instead of just saving all this animated bull sh@t theatrics and just defend himself without throwing a bunch of smoke screens to try and gain favor with tax payers. A smart person can see through this lying piece of pond scum, who is just another crook with a license to steal.

Hey Rod,

That's a pretty good moniker: 'A citizen.' It was so good I adopted it myself. Keep posting. It's good for a laugh.

When is Patrick Fitzgerald gonna go after the gangs in Chicago? When was the last time you saw a big investigation from the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office going after the killings on the streets of Chicago? He is afriad of the gangs! Afraid of the southside politicians and the ministers! Sure, he made a boatload of headlines putting a few politicians away and a couple of mayor Daley's minions away. Let's not forget he made 4 men kill themselves. He must be so proud. The streets of Chicago are so much safer now. He is nothing but a phony, egotistical jerk. In 3 years, I'll bet ANYONE, he'll be a politician himself or a high priced lawyer. Sickening! BTW, I'll also bet he puts 10 FBI agents on the case to find out who I am. Then I'll get my taxes audited!

I'm not sure what's worse in this state. The fact that people voted for this inept crook twice or there's still the lunatic fringe out there not intelligent enough to see that he was trying to sell off state business, among other things, left and right. I used to work for an organization that was extorted by his cronies.

Blagojevich's team should make a motion for a directed verdict of aquittal to end this costly farce and Judge Zagel should order it. Even his defense concede he is a mope but that isn't a federal crime and with the exception of spitting on the sidewalk and perhaps the old "lying to a federal agent" he should walk as much as we all will have to suffer his post trial histrionics and the television coverage ad nauseum.

I don't see the proof. This seems to be a trial with nothing but innuendo. One is innocent until proven guilty. I hope this standard still applies in the justice system.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on July 12, 2010 3:46 PM.

Blagojevich judge to defense: you're wasting time was the previous entry in this blog.

Prosecutors want to air Blagojevich's legal bills is the next entry in this blog.

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