Dave McKinney and Natasha Korecki and Lark Turner
When it was clear a hospital CEO had rejected fund-raising overtures, Rod Blagojevich said he was "shocked" to later learn the state had not approved a rate increase for Children's Memorial Hospital.
Prosecutors had alleged that Blagojevich held up a pediatric rate increase for the
hospital in a bid to shake down Children's Memorial's Patrick Magoon for a campaign contribution.
Asked by his defense lawyer whether he gave aide Robert Greenlee the order to block the rate increase after being rebuffed by Magoon, Blagojevich answered, "Absolutely not."
In fact, the governor said he did not learn that the hospital wasn't getting its increased cut from the state until after being arrested by the FBI in December 2008.
"It was your understanding the rate increase was going through," Blagojevich lawyer Aaron Goldstein asked his client.
"Absolutely," the ex-governor answered.
"You didn't learn the rate increase was being held up until after you were arrested?" the lawyer asked.
"That's right," Blagojevich said.
"And you said your response when you heard that was you were shocked?" Goldstein asked.
"I was shocked." Blagojevich said.