Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Former Friends Testify Against Blago

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
 Former Friends Testify Against Blago
Jack Higgins
 Former Friends Testify Against Blago

Getty Images

Potty Mouth |
With expletives flying and scandals unfolding, Blago jurors began listening to the FBI tapes from start to finish.

advertisement

Rod Blagojevich's defense team began cross-examining one of the defendant's old friends and advisors Monday, lobbyist John Wyma.

Lawyer Sheldon Sorosky suggested that Wyma betrayed Blagojevich by cooperating with the FBI in 2008.

"So, you elected to be a spy against your friend for the government?" Sorosky asked.

Judge James Zagel sustained a motion before Wyma could answer the question.

Wyma testified earlier that Blagojevich had tried shake down executives for campaign cash by threatening state decisions that could hurt their businesses.

Sorosky picked up on a favorite defense refrain, suggesting to Wyma that talk about pressing executives for campaign cash was only that -- talk.

"This was just conversation between two pals, right?" Sorosky asked.

Zagel sustained another government objection before Wyma could respond. Sorosky, who occasionally raised his voice as he grilled Wyma, repeatedly drew the judge's ire.

Sorosky even tried to ask Wyma the meaning of a curse word that Blagojevich is heard using on one FBI wiretap recording played to jurors. Zagel disallowed the question, saying that Wyma isn't an expert on four-letter words.

Wyma testified last week that he cooperated with the FBI because he was alarmed by Blagojevich's pressure tactics, adding that his decision to inform on Blagojevich was deeply upsetting.

Blagojevich told reporters that Wyma lied on the stand, saying his old friend's testimony was like "a dagger" through his heart.

Also on the stand Monday, Children's Memorial Hospital chairman Patrick Magoon said Blagojevich's brother, Robert, called him on the phone and asked him to raise $25,000 in campaign money two days after the governor had promised the hospital $10 million in additional funding.

"One, from my point of view, was in exchange for the other," Magoon said on the stand.

Magoon said he believed the hospital would not receive the money if he refused to raise the campaign cash.

Blagojevich did not comment on the testimony Monday, but last week told reporters that the accusastions from Magoon hurt the most because "there's nothing that I fought for more or cared about as governor in terms of my accomplishments as governor, was healthcare for children, providing healthcare to all the children of Illinois.

Prosecutors are running through witnesses at a rapid pace, NBC Chicago reported.

Related Topics
Leave Comments