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

Blagojevich to prosecutor: 'You're twisting my words'

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney

Prosecutor Reid Schar is breezing through a series of early December calls where Rod Blagojevich discusses an alleged deal with U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Meanwhile, Blagojevich is spending a lot of time biting his lower lip.

Schar doesn't stop to let Blagojevich do anything but affirm what he said in the phone calls. Prosecutors allege fundraiser Raghu Nayak had offered him more than a million dollars in contributions in exchange for appointing Jackson to the Senate seat. Blagojevich concedes that as of Oct. 31, 2008, he knew of the alleged offer.

First, a call with political adviser Fred Yang: "You use the term 'up front'?" asks Schar.

"That's what I use there, yes," Blagojevich said.

In the next call, Blagojevich discusses the deal again. He tells Schar he's just "conveying what they [Nayak and others] said to us, yes."

When Blagojevich starts explaining a "reference" in a call, Schar snaps: "Listen to my question."

After going through Blagojevich's statements on more calls, Schar brings up Blagojevich's directive to his brother, Robert, to go talk to Nayak -- the same person who allegedly made an offer that Blagojevich himself characterized as "illegal."

Blagojevich, in a call with Robert, tells his brother to be "careful."

Blagojevich, leaning forward, talks over Schar with regard to this statement. Schar contends it means "don't get caught."

Blagojevich disagrees.

Schar also presses Blagojevich on a part of his conversation where he says: "assume the whole world is listening."

"I'm proud of those words," he said, later adding: "With all due respect, Mr. Schar, you're twisting my words."

After Blagojevich finds out the next day that pal John Wyma may have been tipping off the feds about private conversations, he tells his brother to cancel the Nayak meeting. Blagojevich maintains he was too busy to discuss the meeting with his brother.

But Schar brings up a line in that phone call where Blagojevich tells his brother it's "too obvious" to have the meeting after the Chicago Tribune published an article about Wyma.

"Those are your words? Too obvious?" Schar asks.

"Yes, those are my words."

"No further questions for this witness," Schar tells Judge James Zagel.

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on June 7, 2011 11:32 AM.

Prosecutor on alleged Jackson offer: 'Did you view it as a bribe?' Blagojevich: 'I viewed it as illegal' was the previous entry in this blog.

Prosecution ends cross examination of #Blagojevich is the next entry in this blog.

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