Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Abdon M. Pallasch
Rod Blagojevich is using his time on the stand as an opportunity to level claims against his old political rival, Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
Blagojevich said he took so much time to sign the Racetrack Bill (which he's accused of holding up for campaign contributions) because Madigan was slipping in language that would undermine him. The governor's office called the language a "poison pill."
"Madigan's a very crafty legislative leader and he's very good that way," Blagojevich testified.
He also seems to be trying to sweeten the jury on his healthcare initiatives. He said he would get around the legislature to enact legislation like "breast cancer screenings and pap smears for women."
"Objection," prosecutors said. Too late. Blagojevich had made his point.
He also later managed to sneak in that he had used the same power to get seniors free rides on the CTA, bypassing Madigan and the legislature.
But Blagojevich was involved in a court case with Madigan and his daughter, Lisa Madigan, who argued Blagojevich had no such un-checked executive power.
"We might weaken [my General Counsel] Bill Quinlan told me, we could weaken our case in court," Blagojevich testified. "They couldn't stop me. This was a chess game going on between me and Mike Madigan. He's very crafty and effective. I had found a way to get around them."