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

Blagojevich tried to prevent Cullerton as state senate president

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By Abdon M. Pallasch

Blagojevich talked about pinch-hitting for State Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, to get elected State Senate president when Blagojevich's often-ally Emil Jones was retiring from the post.

Blagojevich toyed with the idea of appointing Jones to Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat as a caretaker for two years. That would satisfy Blagojevich's African-American base of supporters, Blagojevich testified.

He also thought about appointing Attorney General Lisa Madigan as a way to broker some peace with her father, Blagojevich's nemesis Mike Madigan. But that would not make African-American voters happy, Blagojevich said.

State Sen. John Cullerton, D-Chicago, the front-runner and eventual victor in the battle to succeed Jones, was considered more likely to cooperate with Madigan than with Blagojevich.

So to help counteract Cullerton's fund-raising advantage over Clayborne, Blagojevich testified he asked Jones to help raise money for Clayborne.

"Cullerton was raising a lot of money and was giving it to Democrats," Blagojevich said. "I asked Emil to raise money for Clayborne."

Blagojevich's testimony had once again strayed too far from the issue of whether he was selling Barack Obama's senate seat, so prosecutor Reid Schar once again stood and Judge Zagel once again encouraged Blagojevich's attorney to ask more focused questions.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on June 1, 2011 2:13 PM.

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