Reporting with Lark Turner
At a hearing this afternoon, lawyers are discussing possible tapes to play if Rod Blagojevich takes the witness stand.
Since last week, those close to Blagojevich say he's prepared to take the stand and will indeed take it.
This afternoon, defense lawyers were struggling to get in tapes to support a theory that Blagojevich was really about to appoint Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.
"This is a red herring," said U.S. District Judge James Zagel. "This deal is a phantom and it remains a phantom ... You keep referring to 'it's the Madigan deal' when it's quite clear there is no Madigan deal."
Zagel scoffed at the deal, saying as far as he knew, it couldn't be true because no one on the other side of the deal knew about it.
Zagel later said he wanted a clear story from Blagojevich: "Not this single, disembodied voice on a telephone that's rarely, if ever, making a decision."