Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Blago Trial: Daily Journal 6/23

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Follow the Ward Room twitter feed, with action from inside the courtroom. 

    What to expect today: Bombshell prosecution witness John Harris, Blagojevich's former chief of staff, will continue to lead the jury through tapes that detail Blago's run at getting something for Barack Obama's open senate seat. 

    10:15 am

    Picking up where he left off yesterday, John Harris continues to tick off a litany of potential jobs Blagojevich could wrangle by trading for the senate seat.

    On calls from Nov. 5, 2008, Blagojevich presses his subordinates to find him a job with a foundation or charity. He gives the example of Elizabeth Dole heading the Red Cross.

    He hopes it might be something Obama might use his influence to arrange, in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat.  Harris says it would have to be "something that would not raise the spectre of a deal, because he's got a buffer."

    Blagojevich asks several times, "See what they pay?"

    At one point someone mentions the Salvation Army as a potential post.  "Oh that'd be huge!" Blagojevich says on the tape. "Do you have to wear a uniform? Forget that!"

     

    10:45 am

    In a call from November 6, 2008, Blagojevich is angry about a Tribune editorial, and reiterates his desire to force out their editorial board.  (Chief of staff John Harris had met with the Tribune management the preceding day).

    Harris said Blagojevich wanted to "have the Tribune editorial board fired or replaced, or he would not go forward with state assistance"  on their efforts to obtain state help with Wrigley Field, a package he estimated at $100 million.

    Harris testified that he did not deliver the governor's threat to Tribune management, saying he merely suggested they might want to tone down their critical editorials.

    "I thought it was wrong," Harris said. 

    12:00 pm

    More from the Nov. 6 tape ... Blago tossed out the names of Emil Jones and Lisa Madigan as potential Senate nominees in a bid to demonstrate that there was competition for the job. 

    Harris says he doesn't think those two were ever really contenders, and says he and the governor talked about leaking Madigan's name to a newspaper.

    3:00 p.m.

    In a phone call from November 7, 2008, Rod Blagojevich makes a frantic phone call to chief of staff John Harris.

    Go-betweens have responded to his job request, and he says they "don't know what to make of it." At most, he says, they are offering to give Lisa Madigan an administration job (to get her out of Illinois and out of his hair).

    There is speculation the post for Madigan might be Deputy Attorney General, which Blagojevich says would be "worse for me," because of the ongoing federal investigation.

    Blagojevich encourages Harris to stall but worries that the legislature is about to act against him. 

    "Listen," he says, "we've got to run this clock a bit and make sure nobody takes this power away from me!"

    He indicates that if the general assembly attempts to do so, he will appoint himself senator before they can act.

     

    Wednesday Morning Blagojevich Coverage:

    I'm a celebrity, get me an ambassador gig [Chicago Tribune]

    Blago thought Obama was avoiding the race card [Ward Room]

    Analyzing the role of Arabs in Blago's corruption probe [Palestine Note]

    Zagel plays nice, denies mistrial motion [WBEZ]

    Previous Journals:

    Tuesday, June 22 Journal -- Strategizing for a Senate Deal

    Monday, June 21 Journal -- Track Owner Johnston Testifies

    Thursday, June 17 Journal -- Ali Ata Takes the Stand

    Wednesday, June 16 Journal -- Joseph Cari Talks 

    Tuesday, June 15 Journal -- Adam Calls Monk a Liar

    Monday, June 14 Journal -- Monk's Cross Exam Begins

    Thursday, June 10  Journal -- Monk's Cash Deal

    Wednesday, June 9 Journal -- First Witnesses

    Tuesday, June 8 Journal -- Opening Statements