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

Prosecutor on Blagojevich testimony: 'Made up, after the fact, in an attempt to confuse you'

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton tells jurors that Lon Monk, a prosecution witness and former friend and chief of staff of Rod Blagojevich, that his testimony can be trusted.

"He has every incentive to tell you the truth, unlike the defendant," Hamilton said. "The defendant has every incentive to come in here and lie. Lon Monk, to save himself, needs to tell the truth, and when you consider all of the evidence -- the recording, the testimony -- the person who's lying about the racing bill is the defendant, not Lon Monk."

She adds that if Lon Monk were really lying on the stand, he could have made up better lies, like saying Blagojevich also received money from convicted former fundraiser Tony Rezko. Instead, Monk said he received the money and never told Blagojevich about it.

Meanwhile, Blagojevich is staring at Hamilton, with his chair slightly turned and his hands folded. Hamilton takes sips from a giant water bottle.

She calls Blagojevich's defense -- that he was sitting on the racing bill to help ensure Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan hadn't slipped in any "poison pill" language -- a lie. His other defense, that old friend Chris Kelly was somehow involved in the bill, doesn't add up, either, Hamilton argues.

Kelly called Blagojevich to discuss a presidential pardon, apparently sparking Blagojevich's suspicions according to his testimony, on Nov. 27. Blagojevich was already sitting on the bill, Hamilton said, pointing to tapes as evidence.

"This is exactly what it appears to be: made up, after the fact, in an attempt to confuse you," she tells jurors.

As Hamilton moves onto allegations Blagojevich was shaking down the Illinois roadbuilding industry, pounding starts outside the courtroom, both loud and obvious. "They're back," Judge James Zagel said of construction crews in the courthouse. The construction isn't the only interruption: the defense is repeatedly objecting, though none have been sustained by Zagel.

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on June 9, 2011 10:40 AM.

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