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

Blagojevich lawyer to Harris: "Are you aware of what the term 'Prince of Darkness' is?"

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If defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein is trying to paint current witness and former chief of staff John Harris as the devil, Judge James Zagel isn't having it.

In a call with Blagojevich, Harris and political consultant and pollster Fred Yang, Yang and Blagojevich joke about Harris, with Blagojevich calling him the "Price of Darkness." Yang also acts mockingly surprised that Harris came up with a "good" idea -- that Blagojevich be given a position in charge of a union's advocacy organization in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat.

"Are you aware of what the term 'Prince of Darkness' is?" Goldstein asks Harris.

Zagel wouldn't let Harris ask that question, nor a subsequent question asking about a comment where Yang that Harris was where "good ideas go to die."

When Goldstein read aloud from a transcript incorrectly, Zagel stopped him and asked him to read it again.

"Forgive me," said Goldstein, who went home sick Thursday. "The cough and the head, it's all over the place."

The objections keep coming from the prosecutor's table. In another conversation, Blagojevich asks Harris about finding "an African American Tammy Duckworth" for the Senate seat.

"Had you been looking for an African American Tammy Duckworth?" asked Goldstein.

This, too, was rejected by the judge. Zagel's also scolded Goldstein a few different times for his repeated attempts at asking what he deems inappropriate questions, saying, "I don't want an argument disguised as a question."

And later: "You have other avenues here, and this particular one, you shouldn't go down. And I think I made it clear."

Goldstein continued to start some questions with the phrase "are you aware?" which Zagel doesn't seem to like too much.

"You're talking about, is he aware of any conversation after this with anybody in the whole world," Zagel said. "Don't do that."

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on May 9, 2011 1:59 PM.

Harris testimony: Blagojevich's chances of being U.N. ambassador 'extremely remote' was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich retrial: Witness John Harris steps down, Tom Balanoff begins testimony is the next entry in this blog.

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