Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney
Prosecutor Reid Schar is holding Rod Blagojevich's feet to the fire not only on statements made out of court, but also on testimony he made just last week in direct examination by his own lawyers.
Schar has moved to allegations Blagojevich shook down the CEO of Children's Memorial Hospital for a fundraiser while the CEO, Patrick Magoon, waited for Blagojevich to pass a rate increase for pediatric doctors serving Medicaid patients.
On direct testimony, Blagojevich said he told Magoon to keep quiet about the rate increase and made it "clear to him that I was breaking policy, because I was cutting a lot of different things. I was cutting wide and thin ... I asked him not to tell anybody about this because I didn't want the word to get out that I was making an exception."
Schar is now asking whether or not Blagojevich remembers saying that in the conversation with Magoon.
"That's what was in my mind, that I had these budget concerns," he testifies. Schar asks again. "This is the essence of what I was saying to him." He asks again: "I don't want to say that that's a direct quote."
Finally: "I think my best recollection is that I explained it somewhere along those lines." Blagojevich said he doesn't want to give exact words.
"No one's asking you for exact words," Schar told his uncooperative witness. "Did you say any words ... to imply that you were breaking policy?"
"I believe my recollection is I may have done that," Blagojevich responded. "That's two and a half years ago."
Schar rubbed his hand over his face, then planted his hand on his hip. He replied quizzically, "You believe your recollection is, you may have?"
Schar goes on to question how Blagojevich can remember his exact score on a school test, almost the exact day of a fundraiser he attended at Ari Emanuel's California home and verbatim quotes he's able to parrot back in testimony.
"Now you're not certain, one or the other, whether or not you told Mr. Magoon anything about the budget?" Schar asks.
Blagojevich finally says his testimony was perhaps "parenthetical," avoiding stating whether or not he explicitly remembers telling Magoon to keep quiet about the rate increase because of the budget.
"I was speaking, I think, somewhat parenthetically when I was testifying," he said. "This stuff about wide and thin ... I have a tendency to say a lot of different things, to keep talking and try and say as much as I can."