Reporting with Sarah Ostman
An attorney for the brother of Rod Blagojevich said he regrets that jurors who are now in their 10th day of deliberations never heard testimony from U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill).
Michael Ettinger, attorney for Robert Blagojevich, gave an emphatic "yes" when asked if he regretted that Jackson didn't take the stand.
"I don't know if I can at this point go into it. But it would have shown, you know, you've got the Jesse Jr. alleged bribery extortion. You've seen one side of it that I believe the evidence shows really didn't occur. I believe the jury would have seen the other side of Jesse and the Indians if Jesse would have testified," Ettinger said.
"What was the other side?" reporters asked.
"That's what I can't get into," Ettinger said.
Jackson was subpoenaed by Rod Blagojevich's attorneys. Rod and Robert Blagojevich are accused of attempting to go through Indian fund-raiser Raghu Nayak to extract a campaign contribution from Jackson. Robert Blagojevich testified that Nayak in October of 2008 approached him offering $6 million in fund-raising for his brother if the then-governor named Jackson to the Senate seat.
Robert Blagojevich testified he shut down the offer. Months later though, Rod Blagojevich tells his brother in a recorded phone call he wants to "elevate" Jackson and asks his brother to meet with Nayak and to talk about "tangible" support up front. His brother sets up a meeting with Nayak but testifies he never intended on making any quid pro quo offer.
"We were counting on Jesse Jr. being called," Ettinger said. "Depending on what he said, I would have called Nayak."
Ettinger said the ex-governor's decision not to testify and to call no witnesses took him by surprise.
"There's another story to be told between Jesse Jr. and the Indians that I can't get into," Ettinger said. He could have called Jackson himself, he acknowledged.
"Because my client never met with him (Jackson) and Rod did. I didn't think that I should get into that," Ettinger said.
The decision to rest their case without calling a witness -- or Rod Blagojevich came as a surprise to the ex-governor's brother, Ettinger said. Rod Blagojevich, as well as his lawyers said it was a difficult call for them but in the end they believed it was the right thing to do in the case.