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

Adviser was teasing about Senate President's campaign coffers, not asking for them, Blagojevich testifies

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

The defense is cruising through a series of calls played by the prosecution where Rod Blagojevich chats with advisers about what to do with his Senate seat appointment.

In one Nov. 12, 2008 call, Blagojevich's Chief of Staff John Harris reports on a meeting he had with Emil Jones -- a meeting that Blagojevich ordered him to set up and attend, according to Harris' testimony. The prosecution alleges that Blagojevich wanted Jones' campaign funds in exchange for making him senator.

In the call, Harris says he told Jones, "I said, 'and what about this big bucket of money?' You know. I said 'you're gonna help like minded candidates, right?" And he said, "yeah, I'm gonna stay politically active.' Anyway, I'll tell you more in person on that."

Blagojevich's take: "[Harris] teased Emil Jones about his campaign fund. Harris must have felt he had a lot of money in his campaign fund. ... I didn't instruct Harris to talk to Emil about big buckets of money."

As he goes through the calls with lawyer Aaron Goldstein, Blagojevich repeats the point that he urged his advisers not to promise anything to anybody, because he had yet to make any decisions.

Take the following exchange from a Nov. 13, 2008 call:

BLAGOJEVICH: And I, and, ah, my, my strategic goal would be to have Rahm have it in his head sooner rather than later. Like today, tomorrow. Not in connection with Senate appointment or, or anything in his 5th CD.

SCOFIELD: Okay.

BLAGOJEVICH: You know just sort of like hey, this is what, is there a way to help him. You guys get Buffett and Warren Buffett andall these guys to fund it. You see what I'm sayin' Doug?

SCOFIELD: I do, but this, this, we're not talking as part of discussions for anything else.

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, it's unsaid. You understand what I'm sayin'? Yeah. It's unsaid.

"Unsaid, don't say that this is connected to a Senate appointment, and don't say that it is connected," Blagojevich testifies. "Don't say it, don't promise it, don't condition it, don't connect it. Because I didn't want him to to convey something that I wasn't prepared to do, that I hadn't decided to do. I didn't want him to give the impression that I was promising something."

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on June 2, 2011 11:18 AM.

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