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Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

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With Robert Greenlee on the stand, prosecutors are playing tapes from early December where Blagojevich starts debating about his dwindling options for who to appoint to the Senate seat.

Greenlee, Blagojevich's deputy governor, says perhaps Blagojevich should consider going along with a choice that may appease Washington, D.C.: Tammy Duckworth.

Blagojevich snaps angrily at Greenlee.

"Get the f--- outta here Greenlee,I'll f---ing fire you. She's got no f---ing chance," he tells Greenlee."I'm gonna f---ing take hits in the black community for Durbin and f---ing Harry Reid and Rahm, f--- them and Axelrod."

"Yeah, I was just f---ing with you," Greenlee quietly responds.

Greenlee testified that he took Blagojevich's threat to fire him seriously.

Debating between appointing Lisa Madigan and Jesse Jackson Jr. -- who Greenlee says wasn't in consideration at all by the governor before early December -- Blagojevich launches into an analogy.

"If they were both drowning and I could save one, I really think I'd save Jesse," he tells adviser Fred Yang and Greenlee. "He's less objectionable to me than she is."

A poll that morning suggested Jackson Jr. was the most popular candidate in Illinois. Emissaries of Jackson Jr. had approached Blagojevich with offers of campaign contributions, Blagojevich suggests on the call.

Greenlee says he's just "expressing" his concerns when he says, "I don't know how you can, justify, you know, talking about a deal with someone you know will not keep their deal."

But Blagojevich charges ahead.

"Some of that tangible stuff can happen before it all happens. There are tangible things that can happen before," he says.

Testifying today, Greenlee said he understood Blagojevich to be talking about receiving cash contributions in an amount greater than $1 million from Jackson Jr.'s supporters.


More than 40 recordings have been played in Rod Blagojevich's retrial, but today the former governor's potty-mouth still managed to reach a new low.

With former deputy governor Robert Greenlee on the stand, Blagojevich is heard on tape talking about appointing himself to the Senate seat. He says he realizes it'll be an unpopular move, but so few people like him, according to a recent opinion poll, it doesn't really matter anyway.

"I f------ busted my a-- and pissed people off and gave your grandmother a free f------ ride on a bus. OK? I gave your f------ baby a chance to have health care," Blagojevich says, his anger building. "And what do I get for that? Only 13 percent of you all out there think I'm doing a good job. So f--- all of you."

Greenlee also testified that he was ordered to look up ambassadorships for Blagojevich, ones that the then-governor would ask for in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat.

On one call, Greenlee is heard starting to describe the different positions.

But Blagojevich cuts him off. What does it pay? He wants to know.

At that, a couple of jurors are seen smiling.




Rod Blagojevich trial proceedings have ended for the day -- and the week -- as one of his lawyers suddenly went home sick.

Defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein, who appeared ghostly this morning, went home after lunch break.

Prosecutors concluded their questioning of chief of staff John Harris -- and Goldstein was the person who was to cross examine him.

Judge James Zagel agreed to reconvene on Monday.

Testimony concluded with prosecutors exploring an alleged scheme to appoint U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to the Senate seat in exchange for a $1.5 million contribution.

To read more: Click here

Reporting with Lark Turner

Yesterday, Rod Blagojevich's jury heard the former governor describe Jesse Jackson Jr. as a "repugnant" option for the U.S. Senate.

Today, things have changed.

Prosecutors just played a recording where Blagojevich tells his chief of staff John Harris that Jackson is now at the top of his list.

Harris at times laughs in the conversation, pointing to the then-governor's flip-flopping.

Blagojevich gives him a reason:
"Well, he's come to me with, through third parties, you know with offers of campaign contributions and help...You know what I mean? 1.5 million. They've, they're throwin' numbers around."

Harris: "Well, I mean that's not the factor."

But Blagojevich steams ahead, saying that he has to consider Jackson if he's considering Lisa Madigan, the daughter of his political nemesis. And he says a Jackson pick will play well in the African American community.

"That, that, you know if that's the case then why should I beanything but f---in' strengthen, you know, my position with my base. I mean among blacks that, that'll be the best pick won't it?"

Noting that Blagojevich a week earlier yelled at Harris for suggesting Jackson as a candidate, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Hamilton asked Harris if anything had changed in that period.

"A specific amount of campaign contributions that were being ... offered to the governor," Harris said.
Hamilton: "In exchange for Congressman Jackson?"
Harris: "Yes."

Prosecutors contend that Blagojevich plotted to appoint Jackson the Senate seat for a $1.5 million campaign contribution. Jackson supporters had approached the Blagojevich camp with the offer. Jackson has denied wrongdoing.

Reporting with Natasha Korecki

John Harris is testifying about a conversation with Blagojevich where the two role-played an upcoming conversation with union leader Tom Balanoff on the day after Barack Obama's election.

In the conversation, which was played for the jury, Blagojevich talks to Harris about whether or not he should imply that he's considering Attorney General Lisa Madigan or Senate President Emil Jones for the Senate seat. Harris said he had no knowledge of any possible deal with Madigan.

Blagojevich wanted "to raise the value of the request; in other words, that if the President-elect wants Valerie Jarrett, the governor would be foregoing a possible deal with Speaker [Mike] Madigan, something he valued."

In the tape, Blagojevich says he wants to get the 'eff' out of Illinois. He asks Harris how he can bring it up with Balanoff, Harris testified.

"See, the other thing is, how do I make a play for somethin' in that end over there?" Blagojevich asks Harris on the tape. "How do you bring that up? Do you do it with Balanoff or no?"

In a conversation a few minutes later that morning, Blagojevich continues to run possible job requests by Harris, primarily the position of secretary of Health and Human Services, something Harris tells Blagojevich is probably unlikely. Blagojevich throws out a few different positions he could be appointed to, including the feasibility of him being appointed the U.S. ambassador to India or South Africa.

"Why can't I be ambassador to India?" Blagojevich asks on the tape.

This goes on for several pages in the tape's transcript.

"We went through quite a few alternatives," Harris testified.

One of those alternatives was head of the Salvation Army. In a subsequent, similar call with the two men and Bob Greenlee, Blagojevich's former deputy governor, Blagojevich brings up this possibility and asks if he would have to wear a uniform.

The gallery in the courtroom laughs at that. Patti Blagojevich looks a little tired; she's resting her head on her hand with her eyes closed.

With that tape, court ends for the day.

Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Government witness John Harris has gotten to the Senate seat charges, and just described two meetings with the then-governor, himself and the governor's legal adviser Bill Quinlan where Harris says Quinlan told Blagojevich he could not look for something for himself in exchange for the seat.

"You can't talk about this, you can't even joke about this," Harris said Quinlan told Blagojevich in late October 2008. "He could not talk about the two in the same sentence."

Quinlan's warning to Blagojevich is significant. His lawyer told him not to try and exchange the Senate seat for personal benefits. Blagojevich has long claimed he did not realize he was doing anything wrong or improper and that he acted with the knowledge of his advisers.

The prosecution also showed the jury an internal document Harris wrote with talking points and a plan for appointing a replacement should then-senator Barack Obama be elected president.

The document advised Blagojevich to appoint a team to help choose candidates for Senate.

"I will not turn this into a public spectacle," Harris advised Blagojevich to say in the document.

Harris said the document was only ever used for public talking points.

He's also described a conversation with then-Congressman Rahm Emanuel prior to Obama's election regarding a possible candidate for Senate.

"He told me that Senator Obama had a preferred candidate," Harris testified. " I understood [him] to be referring to Valerie Jarrett."

The prosecution is now playing a phone call where Harris relays to Blagojevich what Emanuel told him. He tells Blagojevich that Obama wants Jarrett appointed to the seat.

Reporting with Lark Turner

Rod Blagojevich's judge, U.S. District Judge James Zagel, today denied the former governor's lawyers access to a report of President Obama's FBI interview.

Agents interviewed Obama after Blagojevich's 2008 arrest. At the time, Obama was President-elect and transitioning into the White House. He was interviewed as part of the investigation into Blagojevich, since the ex-governor was accused of plotting to sell Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat.

While FBI notes for other witnesses were turned over -- including Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett -- Obama's were not given to the defense.

Zagel said he read over Obama's report again after the defense made another attempt at seeing them.
"There is nothing in the report that could be used at trial," Zagel said.

Blagojevich's attorneys said they believed that witness Tom Balanoff, a union chief, had testified in last summer's trial to something that was counter to what Obama had said publicly regarding his staff's contacts with Blagojevich's staff.

However, Zagel said he didn't find anything in the report that would help the defense "impeach" Balanoff's testimony when he takes the stand in the retrial.

Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Jurors are seeing a visual representation of how all-over-the-map Rod Blagojevich was in deciding who to appoint to Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Defense attorney Michael Ettinger puts up a chart of various Senate seat candidates Rod Blagojevich was considering on Nov. 22, 2008.

There are six mug shots on the screen. A photo of Oprah Winfrey is at the center, along with the mayor's brother, Bill Daley, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, doctor and Obama pal Eric Whitaker, and others.

Then there are more charts. They show days of the week from Nov. 26 to Dec. 4, 2008 -- each with two to three different mug shots of candidates Blago was considering for the seat.

By Dec. 4, Jesse Jackson Jr. is back in contention.

"He was all over the place," Robert Blagojevich said.

Reporting with Sarah Ostman

The exceptionally long recording of Dec. 4, 2008 continues with Rod Blagojevich explaining to Deputy Gov. Robert Greenlee and his pollster Fred Yang that Jesse Jackson Jr. and Lisa Madigan were "equally repugnant" to him personally.

"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 she is."

Later in the conversation, Greenlee suggested that Blagojevich just appease the Washington establishment and appoint Veteran Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth.

"Get the f--- out of here, Greenlee," Blagojevich said. "I'll f----ing fire you."

Greenlee recovers, saying he's just screwing around.

Prosecutor Reid Schar asks: "Were you just f-ing around?"
Greenlee: "No."

"I saw that he got worked up as he often did when I disagreed," Greenlee said.

"Did he just threaten to fire you, sir?" Schar asked.

"He did just threaten to fire me, yes."

Reporting with Sarah Ostman


Jurors hear about Rod Blagojevich's Stanford-educated deputy governor's next assignment: look up job possibilities for Blagojevich's wife.

On a recording, Blagojevich wants to know how the wife of former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle landed a lucrative lobbying post and whether Patti Blagojevich can do the same.

Then-Deputy Gov. Robert Greenlee does some research and reports back.

"Spouses can lobby members of Congress, but they are not allowed to lobby their spouses themselves," Greenlee testified he explained to his then-boss, Blagojevich in the November, 2008 conversation.

"You shouldn't lobby your spouse's office other than that you can lobby the rest," Greenlee told him.

"What about doing that for a few years?" Blagojevich asks him. "Patti and I can move out to D.C."

Greenlee said Blagojevich asked him to do this as he considered appointing himself to the U.S. Senate seat.

"He talked a fair amount about appointing himself to the Senate," Greenlee said.

Blagojevich trial: Day 19 and last week's recap

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Last week ended with a new revelation about the Blagojevich family: a $400,000 bill on high-end suits, designer ties, furs, shoes and even fancy underwear. The family spent more on fine clothing than on its mortgage, child care or tuition in the years Rod Blagojevich served as governor, according to testimony.
As the fourth full week of trial concluded, prosecutors revealed they may wrap up its case next week -- much sooner than they had anticipated.

Meanwhile, jurors heard Blagojevich unleash jealousy and hatred against President Obama, they heard the infamous "f------ golden" recording, and heard testimony that Blagojevich referred to Alexi Giannoulias as a "mother f-----."

Some explosive testimony from union leader Tom Balanoff indicated that Barack Obama called him one day before the 2008 presidential election to give him the green light on Valerie Jarrett for the Senate seat.

Two witnesses testified that Patti Blagojevich was paid by Tony Rezko's Rezmar for doing no work.

Up today:
1. Michael Winter, a Rezmar consultant, continues his testimony.
2. This week prosecutors are expected to put on Indian supporters to Rod Blagojevich who will testify about the ex-governor's alleged desire to extract a $1.5 million campaign donation from Jesse Jackson Jr. in exchange for a Senate seat appointment.

Scofield: I lied to placate Blagojevich

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Reporting with Sarah Ostman

Lobbyist and consultant Doug Scofield admits under defense questioning that he's either lying or placating Rod Blagojevich as he goes over various transcripts of conversations.

"I think there were several instances where I was just placating," said Scofield, a government witness. "If I placated him it wouldn't make it any likelier he'd be a cabinet member."

Defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein repeatedly asked Scofield if he was lying at various portions of transcripts where he appears to be encouraging Blagojevich's desires for a cabinet position.

Scofield at one point in a call with Blagojevich said Valerie Jarrett was not an obvious, top pick for Senate by the union Scofield represented.

"She would not be the type of person to be at the top of the list for a Senate seat," Scofield admits he said of Jarrett at the same time his union client sought her appointment.

In that call, Scofield is heard saying that he's just agreeing with Blagojevich's musings in the call -- even when Scofield says on a recording that in exchange for Jarrett's appointment: "they could step up, step up to the plate."

Goldstein: "This is a little more than agreement, would you agree? ...'But they could step up, step up to the plate?' That's just agreement?"

Scofield is cut off from answering.

Scofield then admits he planted a false item in Michael Sneed's Sun-Times column on Blagojevich's behalf.

The item falsely suggested Jesse Jackson Jr. was a possible Senate pick.

Reporting with Sarah Ostman

Doug Scofield testified that Services Employees International Union paid him as a consultant in 2008 -- $5,000 a month.

Scofield set up the Nov. 3, 2008 meeting with union leader Tom Balanoff and Rod Blagojevich, where the appointment of Valerie Jarrett was discussed.

Scofield reveals under questioning that J.B. Pritzker told Blagojevich that Lisa Madigan was interested in the Senate seat.

"It is accurate to say that's what he told me," Scofield said.

Scofield then recalled the meeting: "I remember Mr. Blagojevich bringing up proactively, this is what I want, to be in the cabinet. If I'm going to be in the cabinet, HHS (Health and Human Services) was the one he was interested in."

Goldstein: "After he said that, what did (governor's counsel Bill) Quinlan say?"

" I don't recall what Bill Quinlan said," Scofield said. He couldn't remember anyone else saying anything.

"Is it fair to say that based on (your recollection) ... there were no objections presented by these lawyers?"

Judge James Zagel doesn't allow Scofield to answer, saying he doesn't see the relevance.

"Did you in any way express that this was wrong?" Goldstein asks.

Again, Scofield's blocked from answering.

"After this meeting, did you call the law enforcement authorities?" Goldstein asked. "In fact, there was a law enforcement authority there in Bill Quinlan?"

Now they're in a sidebar conference discussing that question.

Reporting with Sarah Ostman

Cross examination of Doug Scofield is underway with defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein asking about a phone call where Scofield is heard discussing the Senate seat.

Goldstein points out that it's Scofield who says on a recording: "the only one worth doing because they give something is Valerie (Jarrett)."

"Your words?" Goldstein said.

Scofield agrees.

Goldstein tries to nail down Scofield's previous testimony that he left his post as deputy governor under Blagojevich because of "the lack of reform generally."
Scofield: "I was basing my concerns on my belief of the commitment to the issue ..."

Goldstein notes that the Legislature is needed to pass reforms.

But then as Goldstein tries to bring up some of Blagojevich's reforms in office, he's knocked off balance by prosecution objections.

"Would you spare us the campaign speech until afterwards?" Judge James Zagel tells Goldstein.

Goldstein tries again: "Without saying how good it was, there was health care reform under Rod Blagojevich?"

Objection sustained.

Goldstein, once more: "Are you aware there was ethics reform under Blagojevich?"

Zagel tells Goldstein to ask the questions a different way, without characterizing the acts.

Goldstein tries yet again and Zagel stops him: "I think you're well beyond the scope."

Also asked...

Goldstein: "Did Lon Monk ever tell you he was taking cash?"
Objection is sustained.

Reporting with Sarah Ostman


After a break, Prosecutor Reid Schar asked union leader Tom Balanoff, who said his Service Employees International Union supported Rod Blagojevich, whether he would
still support Blagojevich today.

"Would you have endorsed him if you knew what you knew now?" Schar asked.
Balanoff: "No."

Schar, a bit worked up: "Is it fair to say he isn't what you thought he was?"

Objection sustained.

Defense lawyer Sheldon Sorosky crosses Tom Balanoff again. Balanoff says he couldn't think of an issue the union wanted that Blagojevich didn't support.

"So the governor clearly had integrity on supporting the issues of the working people, did he not?" Sorosky asked.

That's sustained.

Sorosky finally asks Balanoff if Blagojevich ever explicitly told him that he wanted a 501 (c) 4 organization in exchange for Jarrett's appointment.

"He never said those exact words," Balanoff said.

Sorosky tries pressing him but doesn't seem to get the answer he was hoping for.

Balanoff: "He said that if he could get $10, $15, $20 million in this 501(c)4, that our Senator Valerie Jarrett could go about her job."

With that, Balanoff's testimony concludes. It was a brisk ending for a major prosecution witness.

Now we are between witnesses where we are listening to a new recording where Rod and Patt Blagojevich discuss the four Senate seat candidates President-Elect Obama had endorsed.

Reporting with Sarah Ostman

Union leader Tom Balanoff testifies to a couple of other spicy political discussions he had with the then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Balanoff testified that Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a friend to then President-Elect Barack Obama, raised himself as a possibility for Blagojevich to appoint.

In a Nov. 24th meeting, Balanoff raises the point to Blagojevich.

Blagojevich bristled, he testified.

"That mother f-----, I wouldn't do s--- for him. Every chance he got he took a shot at me," Blagojevich said, according to Balanoff.

Giannoulias is now the Democratic nominee running for Senate. He was subpoenaed by the defense to testify in this case.

In the same meeting, Balanoff said he brought up the possibility of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky's appointment to the Senate.

Nope.

Blagojevich: "If she had any ancestors who came over on slave ships she'd be fine."

Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Top union leader Thomas Balanoff said he was at dinner the night before the November Presidential election when he got a call that was blocked.
So he didn't take it.

Later he listened to his messages: "I walked outside, listened to it and it was from President Obama," Balanoff said.

"Tom, this is Barack, give me a call," the soon-to-be President-Elect said on the message.

After Balanoff sent word through an Obama aide to call him back, Obama returned his call later that night.

"Tom, i want to talk to you with regard to the Senate seat," Obama told him.
Balanoff said Obama said he had two criteria: someone who was good for the citizens of Illinois and could be elected in 2010.
Obama said he wasn't publicly coming out in support of anyone but he believed Valerie Jarrett would fit the bill.
"I would much prefer she (remain in the White House) but she does want to be Senator and she does meet those two criteria," Balanoff said Obama told him. "I said: 'thank you, I'm going to reach out to Gov. Blagojevich."

Balanoff then described a Nov. 6, 2008 meeting he had with Rod Blagojevich to recommend Valerie Jarrett for Barack Obama's Senate seat.

Blagojevich responded that he was in "active discussions" with the Madigans about appointing Lisa Madigan and was holding out for a legislative package with the House speaker.

"I said that could be months. He said, 'Yeah'. I said Valerie Jarrett, I don't believe she has that kind of time," Balanoff testified.

Blago then turned the conversation to a cabinet position, Balanoff said.

"He said, 'You know, I love being governor, but my real passion is health care,'" and then he asked about the Health and Human Services cabinet post.

"I told him that's not going to happen," Balanoff said. "He said, "Is that because of all the investigations around me?"

Reporting with Natasha Korecki
SEIU leader Thomas Balanoff, a key witness for the government, has just taken the stand.

Balanoff is expected to testify that Barack Obama called him before the election, giving him the green light to ask Blagojevich to appoint his friend Valerie Jarrett to his U.S. Senate seat.

He's also expected to say that Blagojevich told him he wanted a personal benefit in return for appointing Jarrett.

Early in his testimony, Balanoff says national union leader Andy Stern first raised Valerie Jarrett as a potential Senate successor in September 2008. As early as as October 2008, Stern said he talked to Jarrett and she said she was interested.

Reporting with Sarah Ostman

On more than one occasion, Rod Blagojevich said he'd be willing to hold his nose and appoint Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the Senate seat if he could loosen Springfield gridlock.

Former chief of staff John Harris acknowledges he heard Blagojevich talk of a deal where Madigan would get the seat in exchange for having her father, powerful Speaker of the House Michael Madigan passing a Blagojevich legislative bill that would include health care expansion.

"I heard him say that," Harris says.

"You understood the passion of the governor was for health care, didn't you?" Adam asked.

Harris: "I understood he was passionate about that, yes."



A heavy-breathing Rod Blagojevich sounds as if he's lifting weights at home as he's heard on speaker phone suggesting Oprah Winfrey as Illinois' next U.S. Senator.
"That's crazy," his top aide John Harris is heard responding.
"That's where you're wrong," the then-governor says. "She's a king-maker. She made Obama. ... She's up there so high that no one can assail this pick. This would be huge."
Rod Blagojevich is audibly out of breath during the conversation.

Read today's overview story: Click here

Reporting with Sarah Ostman

Judge James Zagel denies a defense request to gain access to the FBI report summarizing then President-Elect Obama's 2008 interview with federal investigators.

Defense lawyers argued in a filing last week that the government minimized Obama's knowledge of the then-Governor's attempts to horsetrade for the Senate seat appointment. They said that testimony by government witness John Harris contradicted that portrayal by federal prosecutors.

Harris testified last week that Blagojevich believed Obama knew about Blagojevich's request for a presidential cabinet appointment in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat.

Zagel said there was nothing relevant concerning Harris's testimony that would allow the defense access to Obama's interview.

"There's just nothing there," Zagel said.

In their filing last week, defense lawyers argued that it was the government's own witnesses and evidence who raised the issue of Obama's knowledge of the Senate seat dealings.

"Testimony elicited by the government from John Harris and wiretaps played in court raise the issue of President Obama's direct knowledge and communication with emissaries and others regarding the appointment to his senate seat," lawyers wrote in the filing.


Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Former Blagojevich chief of staff John Harris details a Dec. 8 meeting between the ex-governor and Jesse Jackson Jr. The meeting happened the day before the governor's arrest.

Harris testified that the two, who long had a strained political relationship, discussed the possibility of a political alliance.

The meeting, at the Thompson Center, was not recorded.

Just before ending the meeting, Rod Blagojevich told Jackson:

"I'm glad someone's thinking about me and how they can help me," Blagojevich said, according to Harris.

Harris said Blagojevich was referencing strategy in a future election.

Harris closed his questioning by prosecutors testifying that Blagojevich had made no decision about who to appoint to the Senate post the day before he was elected.

Blagojevich has publicly said he was going to appoint Lisa Madigan but was arrested before he could do it.

Up next: Rob Blagojevich lawyer Michael Ettinger cross examines Harris.


In one mid-November, 2008, Rod Blagojevich sent his top aide, John Harris, to approach then-Illinois Senate President Emil Jones with a deal:

Blagojevich would appoint Jones if he considered turning over his campaign warchest to the governor.

"I told Jones that Emil Jones was the governor's favorite candidate next to himself," Harris said he told Jones.

"I did discuss with Sen. Jones than no one other than Emil had been a friend of the governor," Harris said.

But that's where the talk stopped, Harris said. He never broached the topic of money with Jones, he said.

"I believe the impression I gave the governor was that I talked about Emil's warchest and big bucket of campaign money," in relation to the Senate seat, Harris said.

Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton asked why Harris didn't do as he was told
"If the governor wanted to ask for the money, he would do himself," Harris said he believed.

"I grew to like Emil Jones. We were close, a friend," Harris said. "I was not going to have that conversation with him."

Hamilton pressed Harris on why he didn't tell Blagojevich it was an inappropriate request.

Harris said from the stand: "I knew it would happen anyway, if I simply told him I wasn't going to do it, he would be disappointed. It would be a fight. I didn't want to get into it, I was working on the legislative session."

Reporting with Sarah Ostman


Rod Blagojevich is now heard on tape saying that the next U.S. Senator must satisfy three criteria: "Legal, personal and political."

This is how top aide John Harris testified Blagojevich defined each one.

Legal: "The legal investigation of his administration and his family finances."
Personal: "His personal economic security his need to secure some sort of economic future for himself. Someone who can put pressure on the Department of Justice to back off on the federal investigation."
Political: "His political situation."

Appointing someone close to Blagojevich might help slow a federal probe into Blagojevich's administration, the former governor said on a recorded call.

"It might change the aggressiveness or it might change the level of pursuit by the federal authorities," Harris testified.

In the midst of trial, the judge's monitor falls off his table. Silence in the courtroom.
Long pause.

"I believe this table was provided to me by the lowest bidder," Zagel says and everyone laughs.


Reporting with Sarah Ostman


After Valerie Jarrett publicly pulled out of contention for the U.S. Senate seat appointment, Rahm Emanuel called Rod Blagojevich's top aide.

Emanuel had a list of "acceptable" names and it was from the then-President-Elect, according to testimony in Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial.

Blagojevich calls the list "B.S."

Emanuel, now Obama's chief of staff, relayed four names whom "the president would find acceptable," according to then-chief of staff John Harris, who is on the witness stand.

They were: Tammy Duckworth, State Comptroller Dan Hynes, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky,.

What's curious about the turn of events: Obama's agents -- Tom Balanoff and Andy Stern -- had previously told Blagojevich that Jesse Jackson Jr. should not be a candidate.

Emanuel's call to Harris about calling off Jarrett's appointment, came just days after he made a phone call to John Wyma to send a message from the president about Jarrett. That message was that the President-elect wanted Jarrett but that Blagojevich should expect only his appreciation in return. Wyma had been cooperating with federal investigators for weeks at the time of the phone call.

Emanuel told Harris that no one else from the Obama camp was allowed to talk about the Senate seat besides him, Harris said.

However, Harris qualified that from the stand: "Rahm might have had his own agenda." .S

"It's a B.S." Blagojevich says on a recording.

Harris explains that they believe Obama's list is a political list.

"That in fact if that became public, the President-elect would want the list to represent a diverse group of individuals," Harris explained from the stand.

"When they give you two whites a black and an Asian the only thing they really don't want is Emil," Harris says on tape, referencing former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones.

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