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

Prosecutor: "It's not just politics. This is a politician engaging in criminal conduct."

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Reporting with Lark Turner

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Hamilton continues closing arguments by breaking down the charges, beginning with allegations that Rod Blagojevich tried selling President-Elect Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Hamilton said Blagojevich broke the law when he asked union leader Tom Balanoff about a presidential cabinet position while discussing he would appoint Valerie Jarrett. It doesn't matter that it didn't actually happen.

"This is the policeman tapping at the window, asking for a bribe," Hamilton said. She says Blagojevich is asking for a personal benefit in exchange for an official act.
"He knows exactly what he's doing," she says of Blagojevich. "And he wants it."

Hamilton told jurors not to be confused when Blagojevich says he wanted a political job in exchange for official action. That's still illegal, she said.

"It's not just politics," she says. "This is a politician engaging in criminal conduct."

Hamilton tells jurors to listen to the calls again, not just the transcripts.

"Go through them chronologically," she tells them. "You will have no doubt. It will make the defendant's guilt crystal clear."

Patti Blagojevich, sitting in the front courtroom bench behind her husband, is resting her head on her arm, with her elbow on top of the bench. Rod Blagojevich appears to be really frowning.

All jurors' eyes are on Hamilton. About half of them are taking notes.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on June 8, 2011 3:15 PM.

Prosecutors in closings: "The law protects people from being squeezed." was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich directed his brother to meet with "the bribe guy," says prosecutor is the next entry in this blog.

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