Reporting with Dave McKinney
We're back in this morning and prosecutor Reid Schar brings up a Nov. 2008 conversation with Rod Blagojevich and Rahm Emanuel -- an exchange that the Chicago Sun-Times has detailed in the past.
House vacancies are not filled by appointment, but require a special election to appoint a replacement. Emanuel was trying to find a way to get around that, Blagojevich said.
Schar asks Blagojevich if he took an oath to uphold the constitution.
"I wouldn't knowingly violate the law whether it was written into the Constitution or the statutes of the state," Blagojevich says.
Schar then asked Blagojevich if in November of 2008 whether then-Congressman Emanuel "raised the issue with you of naming an interim to his seat until a special election was held?" Blagojevich agreed and Schar continued. "That would have given an advantage to the person before the special election was held, would it not?" Schar asked.
"This is what Congressman Emanuel was asking me to do," Blagojevich responded.
The Sun-Times has previously reported that Emanuel in that conversation raised the potential of Forrest Claypool getting named.
Blagojevich said he asked his lawyer about it, who shot down the idea as unconstitutional.
"Yet on Nov. 10th, you talked to (consultant) Fred Yang about naming a replacement. In that conversation, Mr. Yang also indicated to you that naming a replacement would violate the constitution," Schar told Blagojevich.
Blagojevich: "Cong. Emanuel said his lawyers were finding ... legal ways to ... accomplish that."
Schar, though, reads from a transcript in which Blagojevich in heard talking to Yang after his attorney told him he couldn't do it:
Yang on tape: "Right, he wants you to break the constitution of the United States."
Blagojevich: "Right, that's a favor worth doing."
Schar said that Blagojevich went on to say on the tape that by the time anybody sued to stop him, Emanuel's candidate would be off on their special election.
"Isn't that what you said?" Schar said.
"Yes," Blagojevich said.
The prosecution is trying to counter testimony from Blagojevich that he acted with his attorneys advice. In this sequence, they're trying to show that Blagojevich sought advice and ignored it.
But Blagojevich will likely later argue that ultimately, despite his words on tape, he never appointed anyone to Emanuel's post.