Reporting with Natasha Korecki
Rod Blagojevich said he had a conversation with Senate Majority Harry Reid about the Senate seat appointment because he wanted help getting Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to pass legislation if he appointed Madigan's daughter, Lisa Madigan, to the Senate seat.
"This is a thankless job you have," Blagojevich testifies Reid told him. "Governors have it tougher ... We in the Senate, we don't have those kinds of decisions."
The defense "refreshed" Blagojevich's memory on the call by handing him a transcript of it. But the tape was not played in court.
Blagojevich said he needed people like Reid "to broker it [the Madigan deal] for me, to monitor for me." He testifies that he didn't trust Michael Madigan to uphold his end of the deal.
But Reid said he "didn't have a dog in the fight," meaning he didn't care who won, so long as that person could be reelected to the seat, Blagojevich said. That sentiment was repeated in a conversation Blagojevich said he had with Sen. Robert Menendez.
Menendez told him, "said they generally don't get involved in local fights like that, but this would be an important one."
Blagojevich said he was "in love with the idea" of the Madigan deal but didn't want to make strides to do it until he had the backing of people in Washington, D.C. Lisa Madigan was the "overwhelming frontrunner" in early December, Blagojevich testified.
"We're all Democrats," Blagojevich said he wanted to tell 'the Washington establishment,' implying that the initiatives were of Democratic interest. "Get it [the deal] done, and no promises taken on faith. Get it done."