By Dave McKinney
Prosecutor Reid Schar continues to go after Rod Blagojevich over his alleged plans to appoint U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Obama.
Blagojevich testified that fundraiser Raghu Nayak, a Jackson ally, communicated to him through an intermediary - Rajinder Bedi - that if Blagojevich appointed Jackson senator there would be "accelerated fundraising" on his behalf.
Referring to Nayak, Blagojevich said, "I understood he said if I appointed congressman Jackson, there'd be a bunch of political support and they'd raise $500,000 upfront. There'd be another $1 million from Raghu or the other way around from Jesse Jackson Jr. That was my understanding."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar repeatedly peppered Blagojevich with questions about whether he regarded this scheme as a "bribe."
"If you're offering me cash personally, that's a bribe. If you're asking me a question about campaign funds, I'm reluctant to give you an answer. If I'm wrong, I'm not sure what you'll do with that," Blagojevich answered.
"Did you view it as a bribe?" Schar repeated.
"I viewed it as illegal," the ex-governor said. "I never stopped to think about it as a bribe or not a bribe. I thought it was illegal. We rejected it three times. At least."