Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Abdon M. Pallasch
On the stand, Rod Blagojevich seems to place the blame for the Racetrack Bill fiasco on government witness Lon Monk and (deceased) former fundraiser Christopher Kelly.
Kelly, Blagojevich testified, was trying to get a presidential pardon for charges leveled against him in a federal indictment. To do that, he was using connections in Florida, which included a tie to the racetrack-owning Johnston family, to try and get former Gov. Jeb Bush to ask his presidential brother for a pardon -- according to Blagojevich. The theory is a new defense from the Blagojevich team.
"What [counsel Bill] Quinlan was telling me was that Chris was pressing him to get me to sign that bill and was angry that it hadn't been signed yet," Blagojevich said. "It was a big, bold red flag to be very careful."
Kelly had been indicted and Blagojevich knew he was under federal scrutiny: "I was very aware that the ladies and gentleman at that table were investigating me," he said, referring to prosecutors.
The defense can't call Kelly to corroborate the theory: he killed himself in 2009 after pleading guilty to fraud charges.