Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney
Former congressman Bill Lipinski is off the stand and the defense has called a former state worker to the stand to discuss the Chicago Academy grant.
Sameer Talcherkar worked at the governor's office of Management and Budget when that office was working on funding options for a grant to the Chicago Academy, a school in then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel's congressional district.
Prosecutors allege Blagojevich was holding up the grant intentionally to squeeze a fundraiser from Emanuel's brother, Ari. The defense is countering those allegations with Talcherkar.
Talcherkar said it was "somewhat challenging" for the office to find funding for the grant because of legal issues and research it required. The defense has presented some emails showing the grant began being investigated and research by the office sometime around May 2006.
"We had to, as I recall, get additional information on what sort of school this was. I think it was ultimately identified as part of the CPS system. We then had to determine what the use of the actual funding was for ... those types of details," Talcherkar told defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein.