By Natasha Korecki and Lynn Sweet
Blagojevich trial coverage at www.blogs.suntimes.com/blago
Updated 2:35 p.m.Chicago time with Valerie Jarrett subpoena
President Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett were subpoenaed by the defense to testify in Rod Blagojevich's upcoming trial, a Blagojevich attorney told the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Yes, he's been subpoenaed by the defense," one of Rod Blagojevich's lawyers, Shelly Sorosky told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Sorosky described Emanuel as a "critical" witness because: "he's the supposed victim of an extortion." One of the charges against Blagojevich accuses him of attempting to extort Emanuel while he was a congressman.
The White House this afternoon confirmed Emanuel and Jarrett were subpoenaed. The subpoenas were accepted, the Sun-Times was told by a White House source,
Sorosky said there are two areas of interest involving Emanuel: the alleged attempted extortion of Emanuel by then-Gov. Blagojevich and the U.S. senate seat selection concerning now-White House Senior Adviser Jarrett.
Jarrett was initially interested in the Senate seat post after Obama was elected president in 2008 and Emanuel had some discussions with both Blagojevich and his staff about the open seat.
Blagojevich had the sole power to appoint a replacement to Obama's vacant seat. He's charged with trying to extract a personal benefit from his potential nominees in exchange for an appointment.
The defense in Blagojevich's case has already subpoenaed three Democratic lawmakers: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from Nevada and Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. from Illinois
Sorosky acknowledged that Emanuel, and many others who have been subject of subpoenas, might not actually be called to testify.
"We served a lot of these people just in case they were needed," Sorosky said.
"We don't know if we're going to call them or not. It depends on what happens at trial."