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

Blagojevich on tape: Did they think I would appoint Jarrett for nothing?

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Continuing to elicit testimony on the Senate seat, the prosecution is playing tapes detailing conversations between Blagojevich, Harris and union leaders Tom Balanoff and Andy Stern. Blagojevich and Harris knew Obama wanted Valerie Jarrett appointed to the seat, but testified that Blagojevich wanted something in return.

"Do they think I'll appoint her for nothing, just to make it happen?" Blagojevich asks Harris on tape.

Harris responds to Blagojevich by saying the President-elect would probably expect some more demands from the governor: demands regarding Illinois' federal government wishlist, like more Medicaid resources.

"I'm simply suggesting [to Blagojevich] that I'm sure they're thinking you're going to want help with your governing agenda, the type of help a president can give in helping a governor get things done," Harris testified.

Harris also discussed a meeting with himself, Blagojevich, Stern and Balanoff where he says Blagojevich suggested he might appoint Illinois Senate President Emil Jones or Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the seat. Harris says Blagojevich suggested appointing Jarrett would be a "significant sacrifice" for him.

At the end of the meeting, Stern and Balanoff said they would go back to Obama and "his people" to make sure Jarrett was his favorite pick for the Senate seat.

As for Blagojevich appointing himself to the seat?

"That was always a possibility, and always in his discussions," Harris testified.

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Didn't Blagojevich think it was strange that Obama didn't call him directly? It's not like they didn't know each other...

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on May 3, 2011 2:57 PM.

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