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

Blagojevich takes the stand

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Abdon M. Pallasch

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was sworn in to testify at his retrial moments ago.

When he was called, he stood up, buttoned his jacket, walked over to his wife Patti and kissed her on the head.

After promising to testify in his first trial, Blagojevich rested his defense without calling any witnesses. This time, he made no promises. But defense lawyer Sheldon Sorosky said yesterday he was prepared to take the stand.

Since last week, those close to Blagojevich have said he's been preparing to take the stand. His preparation continued over the weekend and has been more extensive this trial than the last.

Defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein will question his client, while prosecutor Reid Schar will question him once the defense is finished. Last week, Sorosky guessed Blagojevich could be on the stand for a week in total.

Before the jury was called in, Blagojevich, with lots of sighs, sat looking a bit restless at the defense table, moving around unsmiling.

Lawyers spent Wednesday afternoon hashing out what tapes they may play in open court to help their defense. But Judge James Zagel said unless Blagojevich takes the stand, they couldn't introduce most of them.

"What the jury will have is the real person sitting in the witness chair," he said. "Someone who is perfectly capable of speaking for himself."

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on May 26, 2011 10:09 AM.

Blagojevich lawyers: Prosecution was barred from asking Jackson about Lottery was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich testimony: 'I'm here today to tell you the truth' is the next entry in this blog.

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