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

It's six against one on Tollway shakedown, prosecutor tells jurors

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Contradicting the testimony of six witnesses for the prosecution, Rod Blagojevich told jurors he never intended for road-building exec Gerald Krozel to connect a request for $100,000 in campaign contributions with a $5+ billion Tollway project, prosecutor Carrie Hamilton pointed out in her closing argument, which continues in precise detail this morning.

Blagojevich said he never intended on pushing through that larger Tollway plan and didn't tell Krozel or his bosses that he would. Blagojevich testified he only ever wanted or planned to pass a $1.8 billion Tollway plan and didn't connect any state action to a request to Krozel for $100,000 in campaign contributions.

Hamilton tells jurors Blagojevich lied because he didn't anticipate yesterday's testimony of Krozel's bosses, Erik Madsen and Richard Olsen, who operate a Canadian cement company. The prosecution brought on Madsen and Olsen in their rebuttal case to bolster the Tollway allegation.

"He thought, 'well, it's my word against Gerry Krozel's,'" Hamilton said. "He never planned on Gerry Krozel's bosses coming in here to testify."

Blagojevich's testimony contradicts that of six witnesses for the prosecution, argues Hamilton: John Harris, Krozel, Olsen, Madsen, Lon Monk and John Wyma. Blagojevich flatly denied the allegations on the stand and called Wyma's testimony "bunk."

Hamilton moves on to allegations Blagojevich shook down Children's Memorial Hospital CEO Patrick Magoon for campaign contributions while Magoon waited for Blagojevich to announce a rate increase for pediatric doctors treating Medicaid patients. Though Hamilton says it's "admittedly" the least explicit of all the shakedowns the prosecution outlined, she tells jurors simply that "it doesn't matter."

She points out that the alleged shakedown was happening at the same time as Blagojevich was allegedly extorting Krozel and trying to sell the Senate seat.

"Let's say a driver gets shaken down, and then a week later finds out the same thing happened to the guy in front of him and the guy behind him," Hamilton tells jurors. "Pat Magoon didn't know about Gerry Krozel. He didn't know about Tom Balanoff. But you do. You know about all of them happening at the same time, and you know who's at the middle of all of them: the defendant."

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on June 9, 2011 11:03 AM.

Prosecutor on Blagojevich testimony: 'Made up, after the fact, in an attempt to confuse you' was the previous entry in this blog.

Prosecution concludes closing argument: "Hold him to these words: 'The people come first. And no one is above the law.'" is the next entry in this blog.

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