Reporting with Lark Turner
Rod Blagojevich starts weaving a tale about: "I really liked Jesse Jackson Jr. in the very beginning."
Jurors see a 10-second video of the 2008 Democratic National Convention. It's silent and Jackson is at the lectern and Blagojevich is giving Jackson a hug.
Jackson, of course, just testified yesterday that Blagojevich tried shaking him down for a $25,000 campaign contribution in exchange for appointing Jackson's wife to a state post.
"Jesse Jr. was saying he's not going to rest until Michael Madigan and Rod Blagojevich hug each other," Blagojevich says Jackson was saying at the time of the convention.
Blagojevich talks of earlier times in Congress, when he approached Jackson Jr. about going to Serbia to help free captives.
"I came up with an idea. I saw Jesse Jr. in Congress a weekend or two after the floor. I see your father was trying to go to Serbians. I said: "Jesse, I don't know if it's BS or not," but Blagojevich knew others who would travel to Serbia and help free the men.
"Absolutely," he said Jackson responded. "Call the reverend."
Blagojevich: "You call your dad reverend?"
Blagojevich said he once thought highly of Jackson:
"I saw him, frankly, as Barack Obama. I thought he had the skills, the personality."
On Jackson's contention that Blagojevich snapped like Elvis after a unsuccessful shakedown:
Aaron Goldstein: "Did you request of Jesse Jackson Jr. a campaign contribution.
Blagojevich: "It's like he said, he never gave campaign contributions to others."
Blagojevich said he had "absolutely no recollection of his talking to me, ever, ever of appointing his wife for the Illinois Lottery."
The person he did name, Blagojevich said, was a recommendation by Jackson's father.