Rod Blagojevich was heard on tape calling U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. "repugnant" and a "bad guy."
However, on the way to his sentencing hearing, the former governor tried tapping Jackson's father for a letter of endorsement.
In another twist to the ever-complicated relationship between the Blagojevich and Jackson families, Blagojevich asked the Rev. Jesse Jackson to write letter of support to the sentencing judge.
It was an offer Rev. Jesse Jackson refused, according to a lawyer for both the elder Jackson and his son, the congressman.
"Rev. Jackson will not write a letter on behalf of Gov. Blagojevich," attorney Paul Langer told the Sun-Times Thursday.
Langer said Blagojevich's attorney, Aaron Goldstein, contacted him last month asking for help.
"Mr Blagojevich is facing a sentence that will put him in prison for a significant amount of time. Any sentence will keep him away from his family, particularly his two young daughters during a very vulnerable time for them," the request from Goldstein said. (Read letter here) "A letter from you describing the good things that Mr. Blagojevich did and the good character traits he displayed could help in reducing any sentence Judge (James) Zagel might impose."
Goldstein was critical to Rod Blagojevich's defense in the former governor's retrial and has been headed up collecting letters in preparation for Blagojevich's sentencing. Prosecutors have calculated Blagojevich's sentencing guideline range at 30 years to life, though they haven't publicly made a recommendation. Blagojevich's lawyers are asking for probation.
Goldstein could not be reached for comment Thursday.
It isn't uncommon for a defendant to make a plea for letters on a defendant's behalf. But the matter between the Blagojeviches and the Jacksons has increasingly soured over the years.
Rod Blagojevich and Jackson Jr. served in Congress together. And the former governor and the Rev. Jackson traveled together to Serbia in 1999 to help free soldiers there.
But the relationship grew acrimonious when the younger Jackson backed out of a promise to endorse Blagojevich for governor, according to testimony at Blagojevich's trial.
When Blagojevich was suddenly in control of naming the next U.S. Senator in 2008, Jackson Jr. tried to mend broken ties, according to Jackson's own testimony at trial. After Blagojevich's arrest later that same year, Jackson was an unnamed person in a federal criminal complaint. Blagojevich called Jackson to testify at his trial, which backfired when Jackson Jr. launched a new salvo -- he accused Blagojevich of a different shakedown.
On Thursday, the former governor's brother, Robert, said he has offered to testify before the house ethics committee investigating Jackson Jr. about overtures by two Jackson Jr. supporters.
At trial, Blagojevich was heard on tape disparaging Jackson Jr., at one point saying he and Lisa Madigan were "equally repugnant" to him.
"If they were both drowning and I could only save one, I really think I'd save Jesse," Blagojevich is heard saying on tape. "From a personal standpoint, he's less repugnant to me than (Lisa Madigan) is."