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

Blagojevich defense to call Rahm Emanuel, Jesse Jackson Jr.: sources

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By Natasha Korecki

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. are expected to be called as witnesses as Rod Blagojevich launches his defense case Wednesday, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Sources said Tuesday that the most recent game plan was to call the two sitting politicians -- both of whom were contacted by the defense team late last week about testifying this week.

The two remained under defense subpoena since the ex-governor's first trial last summer.

In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times in April, Blagojevich said "in all likelihood" his attorneys would call Emanuel and Jackson to testify.

Blagojevich wants to explore discussions Emanuel had regarding a potential deal to name Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the U.S. Senate seat. He also expects both Jackson and Emanuel would deny there were any illicit discussions involving allegations that Blagojevich tried selling President Barack Obama's Senate seat.

Emanuel, who was President-elect Obama's incoming chief of staff when Blagojevich was allegedly looking to sell Obama's Senate seat, said Monday he was prepared to testify.

"I'm ready, if asked, to answer questions, as I was in the first trial," he said.

Blagojevich's defense never called any witnesses during the first trial, which ended with Blagojevich being convicted of lying to the FBI, the least severe count lodged against him. The jury deadlocked on the 23 other counts, leading to the current re-trial.

Sources said Tuesday that Blagojevich was preparing to take the stand after other witnesses. Lawyers and the judge must still hash out which recordings would be played during Blagojevich's testimony.

Lawyers are expected to discuss that in a Wednesday afternoon court hearing.

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on May 24, 2011 7:14 PM.

Emanuel 'ready, if asked' to testify if called by Blagojevich defense was the previous entry in this blog.

Jesse Jackson Jr. has arrived -- he's in a witness room is the next entry in this blog.

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