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

Prosecutors press Blagojevich on Senate seat calls involving Jarrett

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Reporting with Dave McKinney


Before the afternoon break, Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar hones in on a conversation between Rod Blagojevich and union leader Tom Balanoff.

Balanoff is the guy that President-elect Obama had given the green-light to talk with Blagojevich about naming Valerie Jarrett to the U.S. Senate seat.

Blagojevich, who had been hoping for a cabinet post in exchange for Jarrett, has heard that Jarrett is dropping out of Senate seat contention. So he gets on the phone and talks to Balanoff, telling him about the possibility of a 501 c4.

"You tell Tom Balanoff you want $25 million," inthe fund, and then a job there.
Blagojevich:"Possibly work there."
Schar: "You wanted the money quickly?
Blagojevich: "So I could fight for health care and join the fight."

Then comes the point where Schar tries to lower the boom. He repeatedly tries to get Blagojevich to admit that on the call, he's offering the Senate seat appointment in exchange for millions of dollars to be put into a not-for-profit fund where Blagojevich would get a job.

Schar asks the question numerous time. Blagojevich dodges. He says it's a possibility, that he's made no final decision.

After one exchange, U.S. Disgtrict Judge James Zagel tells Blagojevich after the ex-governor drifted off point again and again: "I want you to stop."

"Yes, judge," Blagojevich said.

Schar: "Did you mean to communicate to Mr. Balanoff that you would give Jarrett the Senate seat if you got your funding for your 501c4?"

"No, I didn't mean to do that," Blagojevich finally says.

But then, Schar points to another phone call. One that Blagojevich makes to his wife, Patti, right after talking to Balanoff. Blagojevich relays the possibility to Patti.

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1 Comment

Good examination there by prosecutors...

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on June 6, 2011 11:16 AM.

Blagojevich to prosecutor: "I'm not sure what I would have done" on Jarrett. was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich testimony: 'Unsaid' means don't say it is the next entry in this blog.

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