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

Rod and Patti Blagojevich tearful as defense concludes closing argument; prosecution to give rebuttal

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein's closing arguments dismissed the prosecution's headline allegation: that Rod Blagojevich tried to sell Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.

"Please listen to the words. The words mean what they say," he says, urging the jury once again to listen to the tapes and find his client not guilty.

"The whole case is about his intent," Goldstein argues, drawing an objection from the prosecution.

"The whole case?" asks Judge James Zagel skeptically.

"Ninety-five percent?" Goldstein answers.

Goldstein repeats the suggestion that Blagojevich had not, in fact, decided to accept an alleged $1.5 million offer from fundraisers in exchange for making Jesse Jackson Jr. the senator. Blagojevich was just using Jackson as negative leverage to try and get help passing a legislative package in exchange for appointing Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

"Raise Jesse Jackson up, because no one liked Jesse Jackson," Goldstein says. "No one wanted Jesse Jackson to be the senator."

"This is the last call Rod made before he was arrested," Goldstein says, playing a Dec. 8, 2008 call where Blagojevich discusses his plan to make Madigan senator.

"What happens next?" Goldstein says, as the words appear on screen in all caps and big letters.

The question goes unanswered, but the implication is clear: Blagojevich was arrested the morning of Dec. 9.

"You see right there," Goldstein says, turning and pointing across the room at Blagojevich, drawing the jury's attention. "That's an innocent man. Right there, that's an innocent man."

As Goldstein gestures to Blagojevich, Patti begins crying, and Rod Blagojevich is tearing up, too. Patti and her sister embrace as the jury stands to leave. A rebuttal from prosecutor Reid Schar will start after a short break.

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The jury is back Monday for deliberations on the 20 pending counts against Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich's jury, of which 11 members are women and one is a man, picked a foreperson and a schedule Friday, according to Judge James Zagel.... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on June 9, 2011 3:14 PM.

Defense lawyer to jurors: 'If you think that man is not guilty, please don't sign a guilty form.' was the previous entry in this blog.

Prosecutor on Blagojevich: 'This isn't a game. There are rules.' is the next entry in this blog.

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