Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Blago Denies Asking Jackson For Campaign Contributions

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A day after Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. gave testimony that was potentially damaging to Rod Blagojevich's case, the former governor on Thursday insisted that he really did like Jackson.

    At least, at first.

    Blagojevich testified he was close to the whole Jackson family and thought Jackson had personality and skills comparable to Barack Obama. To prove it, the defense showed a short video of Blagojevich and Jackson hugging during the Democratic Convention.

    While on the stand, he denied requesting a campaign contribution from Jackson and said he didn't remember the congressman asking him to appoint his wife, Sandi, to the Illinois Lottery.

    On Wednesday, Jackson recalled that after he refused to give a $25,000 campaign donation during Blagojevich’s first run for governor, his wife Sandy was passed over for the job of state lottery director. A few months later, he said he encountered the new governor in Washington.

    “The governor came up to me and said, ‘I’m sorry the thing with Sandy didn’t work out,’” Jackson recalled. Then, “in classic Elvis Presley fashion, he snapped both fingers, and said, ‘You should have given me that $25,000.’”

    Blagojevich later told the media parts of Jackson's testimony was "a bunch of baloney."

    "Remember that biggest hug fest at the Democratic convention" in Denver in August of 2008? "When (Jesse) was crying and asking me to come up and hug Madigan?" Blagojevich told NBC Chicago during a brief court recess. "What a bunch of baloney!"