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Blago Retrial: Daily Journal 6/8

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Blago Blog: Prosecution Begins Closing Statements
Jack Higgins
Blago Blog: Prosecution Begins Closing Statements

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Follow Ward Room on Twitter to keep up-to-date with action in the courtroom.

Read live blogs of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's first, second, third, fourth, fifth,
sixth and seventh days on the stand.

4:34 p.m.:
Judge James Zagel adjourns court for the day.  Prosecution will finish its closing arguments Thursday, followed by defense. 

4:33 p.m.: To hammer their point, the prosecution puts call text up on screen, then stamps the word "guilty" over the actual count connected to it.

4:30 p.m.:
 Prosecution is listing the counts and charges, then giving the jury the exact phone call example that "proves his guilt."

4:16 p.m.: Hamilton repeatedly describes Blagojevich's crimes as "schemes."

4:14 p.m.: 
Several jurors take notes as Hamilton explains what is needed to reach a guilty verdict on the wire fraud counts.

3:57 p.m.: Jury is very attentive as government attorney Carrie Hamilton makes a very concise case. 

3:41 p.m.:  Prosecution is working to break down Blagojevich's "defenses" given during his testimony.

3:40 p.m.: 
Prosecution contends that Blagojevich used other people to carry out his plans because he knew what he was doing was illegal.  Blagojevich appears upset.

3:25 p.m.: Hamilton occassionally hits her fist on a lectern as she speaks.  "The defendant lied to you under oath in this courtroom," she says.  She relates them to oaths Blagojevich took as governor that he would fulfill his duties honestly.  "Time and time again... [he] violated that oath... [and] used his powers as governor to get things [for himself]"

3:18 p.m.: Prosecution puts the text of their damaging phone calls on the senate seat on the large screen, highlighting words that suggest "The Ask."  Attorney Carrie Hamilton instructs jurors to listen to recorded telephone conversations chronologically.  "The calls make his guilt crystal clear." -- and -- "It's not just politics.  It's a politician engaging in criminal conduct."

3:09 p.m.: "In fall 2008, Blagojevich was desperate for a new job, campaign funds and money in his own pocket, so he tried to cash in on his power of governor," Hamilton says during closing arguments.

3:07 p.m.: On the list of "Blagojevich's Five Crimes": 1. Senate Seat Shakedown 2. Racing Bill Shakedown 3.Tollway Shakedown 4. Children's Hospital Shakedown 5. School Shakedown

3:02 p.m.: Up on a large screen in the courtroom, the prosecution has a list titled: "Blagojevich's Five Crimes"

2:59 p.m.: "This was a profound violation of the Oath and the law," Hamilton says during closing arguments.

2:55 p.m.: Hamilton says the case boils down to Blagojevich trying to benefit himself in exchange for an "official act." It's the "ask" that matters, she says, not the "receipt."

2:54 p.m.: "Through the course of the trial you learned the defendant violated his Oath of Office and used his powers as governor to get things for himself," prosecutor Carrie Hamilton says.

2:49 p.m.: Closing arguments begin

2:36 p.m.: Prosecution and defense both officially rest their cases.

2:34 p.m.: Defense attorneys want to call an FBI agent who isn't available. Judge Zagel tells them to call him or rest.

2:30 p.m.: Prosecution plays one last call before resting its case.

2:16 p.m.: Magoon says it was "memorable" that Blagojevich told him to keep quiet about a major health care announcement because it's "not generally been his practice."

2:12 p.m.: Back from lunch, the government recalls Children's Memorial Hospital CEO Pat Magoon as a rebuttal witness.

12:42 p.m.: Court breaks for lunch and will resume with one more short witness from prosecutors. Closing arguments will begin this afternoon, starting with the prosecution. Judge Zagel says he will allow both sides to take up to four hours, stretching closings into Thursday.

12:28 p.m.: Cain says the FBI offered, but Blagojevich refused to have sessions with special agents recorded.

12:17 p.m.: Prosecutors call FBI agent Dan Cain.

12:06 p.m.: Murphy testifies that Blagojevich's attorney requested the FBI not record their interview with Blagojevich in March 2005.

12:02 p.m.: Prosecutors call FBI Special Agent Patrick Murphy as its next rebuttal witness.

11:42 a.m.: Jury is excused for a short break.

11:22 a.m.: Next rebuttal witness: Eric Madsen, CEO for VCNA

11:17 a.m.: Olsen testifies that Blagojevich never asked for money in exchange for getting the $6 billion tollway deal passed.

11:11 a.m.: Olsen says during a meeting, Blagojevich referred to himself as "the best damn governor in the history of the U.S," citing his free rides for seniors.

11:07 a.m.: First rebuttal witness is Richard Olsen, president of VCNA, a heavy building materials company in Toronto, Canada. 

11:03 a.m.: Defense rests

10:42 a.m.: Defense attorneys expect their clsoing arguments to take an hour, 45 minutes. Prosecution asked for four hours.

10:41 a.m.: Defense expected to rest after a break. Prosecution rebuttal witnesses will be called next.

10:38 a.m.: "Basically, you're going to rest unless something happens in the next five minutes?" Zagel asks. Answer: "Yes."

10:35 a.m.: Next witness: Johnathon Rouske, special agent with the FBI. Rouske testifies about interviewing Gerald Krozel on Dec 9, 2008.

10:16 a.m.: Sameer Talcherkar next witness for Blagojevich defense. Talcherkar worked for Office of Managment and Budgets handling grant money.

10:12 a.m.: Lipinski's wife was given a job with the state after Blagojevich was elected.

10:07 a.m.: Prosecutors question Lipinski. In 2002, Friends of Lipinski gave $25,000 to Blagojevich's campaign for governor.

9:58 a.m.: Lipinski says Jesse Jackson Jr. never asked him to give Blagojevich $25,000. That's not what Jackson previously said.

9:56 a.m.: Lipinski says he was the second person to pubically support his run for Governor, after Blagojevich's father-in-law.

9:54 a.m.: Lipinski is asked to point out Blagojevich in the courtroom. "See him over there," he says. "A great smile as usual."

9:50 a.m.: Defense calls former Congressman Bill Lipinski to the stand.

What To Expect Today:

Two more witnesses. The government's closing arguments are then expected Wednesday afternoon followed by defense attorneys' final say on Thursday, bringing a rapid close to Rod Blagojevich's corruption retrial.

Judge James Zagel already told jurors they need to work Friday to keep them "engaged in deliberations" before the weekend. After Thursday, it's up to the jury to decide Blagojevich's fate. [Read more here ... ]

Previous Journals:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 -- Cross-Exam Wraps

Monday, June 6, 2011 --  Cross-Examining Blago

Thursday, June 2, 2011 -- Prosecutors Begin Their Attack

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 -- Blago on the Stand Day 4

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 -- Blago on the Stand Day 3

Thursday, May 26-Friday, May 27 -- Rod Takes the Stand, Days 1 and 2

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 -- Emanuel, Jackson Testify

Thursday, May 19, 2011 -- Blago To Testify

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 -- Prosecution Expected to Wrap

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 -- Blago Friend Monk Takes Stand

Monday, May 16, 2011 -- Wyma Cross-Examined

Thursday, May 12, 2011 -- Better Day for Blago?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 -- Motion for Mistrial Denied

Tuesday, May 10, 2011 -- '[Bleeping] Golden' Tapes Played

Monday, May 9, 2011 -- Harris Cross-Examined

Thursday, May 5, 2011 -- Blago Considered Appointing Himself Senator

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 -- Harris Testimony Continues

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 -- Testimony Begins

Monday, May 2, 2011 -- Opening Statements Due Today

Thursday, April 28, 2011 -- Questioning Continues

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
-- 6 Jurors Left to Question?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 -- Opening Statements Likely Monday

Monday, April 25, 2011
-- Jury Selection Resumes

Thursday, April 21, 2011 -- Jurors Questioned

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 -- Welcome to the Retrial

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