Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney
The prosecution's first rebuttal witness, Richard Olsen, said at a 2008 lunch meeting with Rod Blagojevich, the then-governor covered a wide range of topics, including himself.
"He said he was the best damn governor in the history of the U.S.," Olsen testified, prompting a laugh from Blagojevich, who glanced at his lawyers.
Blagojevich also discussed how he thought Barack Obama would win the presidential election at the meeting, Olsen said.
The 2008 lunch meeting included Olsen, the CEO of VCNA, Krozel, Blagojevich and Lon Monk in 2008. Prosecutors allege Blagojevich was pressuring the company to come up with campaign contributions in exchange for pushing through a $6 billion Tollway plan.
Blagojevich contends he scheduled the meeting to make Krozel look good in front of his new bosses.
On cross-examination, defense lawyer Sheldon Sorosky claimed the governor was always on the side of Olsen's company.
"Did the governor ever say if you guys want me to help you, I want you to help me?" Sorosky asked Olsen.
"No, he did not," he replied. Prosecutors objected, but the judge allowed the answer.
"And the governor indicated he was sympathetic to the industry and your company?" Sorosky asked.
Olsen: "Yes, he did." Sorosky continued: "You liked him, didn't ya?"
"Yes," Olsen said. He also said Blagojevich didn't bring up fundraising at the meeting, though Olsen told prosecutors he did discuss two plans for the Illinois Tollway at the meeting and, as Olsen could recall, Blagojevich seemed like he wanted to approve both of them.