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

"Did you ever shake down Johnny Johnston?" Blagojevich: "No."

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Reporting with Lark Turner

We're on horse-racing legislation allegation now and right out of the gate, Rod Blagojevich denies any kind of shakedown scheme.

His lawyer Aaron Goldstein asks him specifically: "Did you ever shake down Johnny Johnston?"
Blagojevich: "No."

Prosecutors say the horse-racing legislation is one of the five major shakedown schemes of their case. They say Blagojevich wouldn't sign legislation allowing the casinos to subsidize the racetracks until horse-racing exec Johnny Johnston coughed up a $100,000 contribution.

Blagojevich said he long knew the Johnston family. They are a horse-racing family that owns Balmoral and Maywood Park harness racing tracks.

"They were the most generous in terms of the contributions they could give," Blagojevich said. They donated several hundred thousand dollars from 2002-2008, the ex-governor said.

Testimony ends for the day and we're back up tomorrow 9:30 a.m. -- even though it's a Friday.

The parties are still in court talking about what tapes can be played tomorrow -- including those involving Johnston.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on May 26, 2011 4:32 PM.

Blagojevich leaves for the weekend; tries to sign an orange was the previous entry in this blog.

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