Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney
Patrick Murphy, an FBI supervisory special agent who oversaw the investigation of Rod Blagojevich and investigates white collar crime, has taken the stand in the prosecution's rebuttal case.
Blagojevich was interviewed March 16, 2005. According to Murphy, who also testified in Blagojevich's last trial, the ex-governor said at the March meeting that he put a firewall between politics and government.
"He said he did not track who was contributing to him or how much they were contributing," Murphy said. Blagojevich told him it was "a decision he made when he became governor," Murphy testified last summer.
After Blagojevich was convicted of lying to the FBI -- the only charge of 24 he was found guilty of in the last trial -- he walked downstairs and told reporters the FBI had refused to allow him a court reporter in the interview.
Murphy said he had in fact obtained special permission to record the March meeting and asked Blagojevich if he wanted it to be recorded. Blagojevich's attorney at the time told Murphy the interview wasn't to be recorded, Murphy testified.
At the time, Blagojevich was sitting across from Murphy at a conference table, Murphy testifies.
The charge Blagojevich lied to reporters about the FBI disallowing a court reporter in the interview was one of the first things prosecutor Reid Schar raised in his cross-examination of Blagojevich during this trial.
"Mr. Blagojevich, you are a convicted liar, correct?" Schar asked as his first question. Schar repeatedly asked Blagojevich why he didn't tell the public that the FBI offered to tape the interview. Blagojevich contended a court reporter is different than a recording, and he didn't remember being asked to record the interview.
In cross-examination of Murphy, the defense pointed out that it was Blagojevich's lawyer, Bradley Lerman, who refused the interview -- not Blagojevich himself.
Murphy is now off the stand and, for the third time, the prosecution has called the investigator directly in charge of Blagojevich's case, FBI Special Agent Daniel Cain, to the stand. Prosecutors and defense lawyers are once again in a sidebar.