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

Jackson: Blagojevich's alleged Elvis shakedown

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By Abdon M. Pallasch and Natasha Korecki

On cross-examination by prosecutors, Jackson said he was not "on speaking terms" with Blagojevich as he publicly campaigned for the appointment.

"I had no relationship with the defendant whatsoever -- frosty at best," Jackson said.

The two met as fellow congressmen. Jackson initially was going to endorse Blagojevich for governor but did not endorse him in the primary. He did endorse him in the general election.

Former Congressman Bill Lipinski approached Jackson and asked him to donate to Blagojevich's campaign.

"He said Democrats had not had control of the governor's office in 30 years," Jackson said. "He asked for $25,000" for Blagojevich's campaign.

"Did you agree to make a contribution?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Niewoehner asked.

"No chance," Jackson replied.

Blagojevich and Mayor Daley came to Washington, D.C. for a visit after the election and Blagojevich approached Jackson, saying, "Let bygones be bygones," Jackson said.

Jackson told Blagojevich that his wife, Sandi Jackson, was interested in working for Blagojevich's administration, Jackson testified.

"I was told to get her resume to Tony Rezko," Jackson said. "I hand-delivered it myself."

"My wife and I were sitting in the living room, watching the governor of the state of Illinois announcing the new director of the Illlinois Lottery, and it was not my wife," Jackson said.

The next time he saw Blagojevich, Jackson said, "I walked in the room and there was a chill in the air. I could see in his face, he wasn't going to be able to do anything for Sandy. The governor came up to me and said, 'I'm sorry the thing with Sandy didn't work out.' I said, 'Not a big deal.'"

Then Jackson dropped the punchline:

"In classic Elvis Presley fashion, he snapped his fingers and said, 'You should have given me that $25,000,' " Jackson testified.

Jackson later put on his best "thank you very much" Elvis rendition to further explain Blagojevich's demeanor.

Prosecutors asked Jackson what he thought Blagojevich meant:

"It became clear to me the governor of the state of Illinois was trading..." Jackson said until he was interrupted by an objection from Blagojevich's attorney.

Prosecutors asked if Jackson took that to mean his failure to contribute cost his wife the appointment.

"That certainly was a factor in the consideration," Jackson said.

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3 Comments

That's great stuff. Some one in the Jackson family being shaken down for money instead of the other way around.

it was a joke, action jackson just didnt get the joke

au revoir, Blago. Or, as Joseph Conrad once put it: "the horror, the horror."

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on May 25, 2011 11:14 AM.

Jackson said Blagojevich hinted he denied Jackson's wife job was the previous entry in this blog.

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