Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney
The defense quickly finished up its questioning of former U.S. Rep. Bill Lipinski by asking if Lipinski ever asked Jesse Jackson Jr. to give Rod Blagojevich a $25,000 contribution. Jackson's wife Sandi was hoping for a governor-appointed spot at the Illinois Lottery at the time.
Lipinski said he didn't ask Jackson for the money.
Jackson testified that in 2003, Lipinski approached him and asked him to donate that amount to Blagojevich's gubernatorial campaign.
"No chance," Jackson said he told Lipinski.
Six months later, Jackson described seeing Blagojevich again -- after the then-governor appointed someone else to the Illinois Lottery.
"I walked in the room and there was a chill in the air. I could see in his face, he wasn't going to be able to do anything for Sandi," Jackson said. "The governor came up to me and said, 'I'm sorry the thing with Sandi didn't work out. In classic Elvis Presley fashion, he snapped his fingers and said, 'You should have given me that $25,000,' '' Jackson said.
Prosecutors tried to undermine Lipinski's testimony by pointing out he did not remember the names of people he called for donations when promoting Blagojevich in his race for governor nor did he remember all of his campaign contributions when asked about them this morning.
Prosecutors also pointed out that after Blagojevich was elected, he appointed Lipinski's wife, Rose Marie Lipinski, to the state Court of Claims, which adjudicates financial disputes against the state.
Blagojevich appointed her March 1, 2004, and she left her post in February 2006. Her final salary was $50,893 a year.
In 2002, Lipinski donated $25,000 to Blagojevich's campaign. Prosecutors asked if Lipinski thought Blagojevich was aware of that contribution when the then-governor gave his wife the job.
"I never thought of him being aware of the $25,000 or not," Lipinski testified. "He was certainly aware of my strong support for him during the course of the primary and general election."
Lipinski testified that his wife left the post after the relationship between Blagojevich and himself soured. Lipinski was on the side of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan in Madigan's stand-off with Blagojevich, he testified.