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

Government witness encouraged Blagojevich to "leverage" Senate seat appointment

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Reporting with Lark Turner

Political consultant Doug Scofield is the second government witness of the day who is heard on tape at times encouraging Rod Blagojevich to try to get something in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to President-Elect Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Scofield, who has not been charged in the case, said he passed a message along to Obama's camp in mid-November that Blagojevich would like a foundation set up for him in exchange for appointing Jarrett.

In a recorded call, Scofield reported to Blagojevich that he passed a message to John Wyma, a friend of Rahm Emanuel, that the then-governor would still consider Jarrett if someone was able to pump millions of dollars into a foundation that Blagojevich could then head.

Scofield said the message was intended for Wyma to pass to Emanuel.

"I think you should leverage it to what's most helpful to you," Scofield tells Blagojevich at one point.
Blagojevich asks Scofield if he agrees with that.
"I do."

Earlier, union leader Tom Balanoff testified that he, too, agreed to pass along a similar request to the Obama camp. At one point, Balanoff refers to Blagojevich's request as "a great idea."

The defense is trying to use the testimony to underscore their premise that this is nothing more than political horsetrading, and something everyone engaged in.

However, next up is a witness who administers ethics tests for state workers -- including Blagojevich.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on May 10, 2011 2:35 PM.

Blagojevich on tape: Obama is 'all take and no give' was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich retrial: The mother of all bleepin' tapes is the next entry in this blog.

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