Reporting with Natasha Korecki
After an alleged shakedown victim said he waited for months to receive payments to build an athletic field at a local school, defense attorney Elliott Riebman wanted to know if he wrote Rod Blagojevich a thank you note.
Donald Feinstein, executive director of the Academy for Urban School Leadership, took the stand this morning to testify about a state grant to AUSL allegedly held up by Blagojevich; prosecutors say the ex-governor was trying to leverage fundraising help from then-congressman Rahm Emanuel. The school was in Emanuel's congressional district.
Feinstein testified that the government stalled on giving the school a promised $2 million grant and eventually meted out smaller payments throughout the fall; he said he didn't know what the hold up was. After he got the payments, Riebman asked Feinstein if he wrote Blagojevich a thank you note.
"I'm sure he wrote a thank you note," cut in Zagel. Feinstein said he probably did.
"It'd probably be proper protocol and etiquette to do so," he said.
Next up: Former deputy governor Bradley Tusk, who prosecutors will use to back up the claim that Blagojevich was shaking down Emanuel.