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What to expect today: Blagojevich's former chief of staff John Harris will be back on the stand today, and maybe all week, testifying about a culture of corruption in the governor's office. Harris, who took the witness stand late Monday and is testifying in return for leniency after pleading guilty to wire fraud, said Blagojevich was a man willing to punish those who did not do his bidding.
Blagojevich allegedly told Harris to cut off two brokerage firms who refusted to hire his wife, Patti.
The prosecution plans to introduce new secretly recorded phone conversations through Harris, much the same way they introduced tapes through Lon Monk, letting him act as a guide.
While on the stand, Harris repeats a story heard during previous testimony, that Blagojevich had a deal with Emil Jones to back his veto of the ethics bill in exchange for naming Jones senator.
Says Jones backed out of the deal and called a vote on the ethics bill at Obama's request, which made the ethics bill law, seriously curtailing Blagojevich's ability to raise money.
Harris said during the summer of 2008 Blagojevich was seriously entertaining idea of appointing himself to the Senate seat if Barack Obama won.
On tapes Blagojevich says to Harris, "So what do you think I can get for this Senate seat?"
He says he told him: "You can get an ally or you can reward an ally."
On another occasion he says Blagojevich speculated about Blair Hull and JB Pritzker and how much money they might come up with in campaign funds or endowing a foundation which he might later oversee (in exchange for the Senate seat).
Harris says general counsel William Quinlan told Blagojevich "Governor you can't even joke about that!"
Harris testified that he heard from Rahm Emmanuel, making clear Obama wants Valerie Jarrett. Harris calls Blagojevich, who speculates how he should respond. In his words "it's got no bargaining power at all.".
He and Harris speculate they should counter that he is already planning to appoint names like Bill Daley or Lisa Madigan. He then wonders what he can get for himself from Obama, joking about UN Ambassador, speaking more seriously about Health and Human Services Secretary.
Break for lunch.
After lunch prosecutors say there is no progress on gagging Blagojevich. Zagel ordered the defense and prosecution to work it out amongst themselves, but prosecutors say defense isn't getting back to them. Defense attorneys promise progress for tomorrow.
Also, defense files for mistrial on the grounds that Judge Zagel is sustaining too many objections from the prosecution. The specifically refer to Zagel admonishing Sam Adam Sr. in front of jurors, when he said "Don't do that, now we're getting into the mind-reading of the prosecution.
Harris back on the stand.
Testifies that during a phone call between him and Blagojevich on election they discussed Obama's senate preference and its racial implications.
During phone call on election day:
"Obama doesn't want it getting out that he's pushing sebody who is black. All of a sudden, first black president and he's saying I want a black senator."
Defense filed motion for a mistrial, based on the judge's repeated rulings on their methods of asking questions. The judge received the motion without comment.
In tapes played this afternoon, Blagojevich was heard discussing his "ultimate bargaining chip" -- appointing himself to the U.S. Senate and getting out of Illinois. Blagojevich discusses the possibility of a UN appointment or even an ambassadorship to India.
Tuesday Morning Blagojevich Coverage:
Patti B. drops her defamation lawsuit against the Chicago Christian Industrial League [Chicago Tribune]