Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Blago Trial: Daily Journal 6/24

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    NEWSLETTERS

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

    What to expect today: Former chief of staff John Harris delivers his fourth day of testimony and the prosecution continues playing a series of explosive recorded telephone calls.
     
    9:30 am

    In a ruling that could affect the Blagojevich trial, the Supreme Court overturned part of former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling's conviction that involved the "honest services" law.

    Blagojevich was originally indicted under the "honest services" clause, but the prosecution re-indicted him earlier this year -- a move that ostensibly would prevent a mistrial should the high court rule against honest services.

    The defense this morning asked for a continuance to study the implication of the ruling, but Zagel denied the motion.

    "I do not believe that they have declared (honest services) unconstitutional on it's face," Zagel said.  "And it would not change the nature of this testimony. The evidence is going to come in anyway.  Which is why I am not stopping."

     
    10:20 am
     
    In testimony, Blagojevich just said on a tape, referring to Jesse Jackson Jr., "He's not the guy I thought he was.  He's a really really bad guy!"

    Later in the same tape, "I don't care what these (expletives) here think, I think I've been a good governor!"

    He speculates on the tape that if he appoints himself Senator and they move to Washington, Patti could become a lobbyist.

    He speaks of entering "wilderness years", after leaving the governor's office...

     
    10:30 am

    Tapes: Harris tells Blagojevich that an emissary has contacted him with a new message from Rahm Emmanuel that they want Jarrett. The President-elect would be "thankful and appreciative."

    Blagojevich says, "OK we know he wants her--they're not willing to give me anything.  Appreciation?  F*** them!"

    Later, Blagojevich talks about Jesse Jackson Jr. Blagojevich says not only does HE not like Jesse Jr., he knows Obama does not like him either.
     
    11:00 am

    Harris testified that Blagojevich considered appointing deputy governor Louanner Peters to the Senate seat as a caretaker.  In that scenario, if he was being impeached, she would resign, creating a new vacancy and he would appoint himself.

    "Could you count on Louanner if things got hot?  To give that up and let me parachute over there?"

     
    11:15 am
     
    On the effort to get the Tribune editorial board fired:  Harris tells Blagojevich he has met with a Tribune executive who told him budget cuts are coming and "he's going after that section."
     
    "Oh that's fantastic!" Blagojevich said.
     
    Harris said he never asked the Tribune to fire the Editorial board, but led Blagojevich to think that he did, "in order to keep the governor from doing it on his own."
     
    Blagojevich wanted to withhold state assistance on a transaction involving Wrigley Field, unless the editorial board was removed.
     
    "I thought that would be very problematic and prove to be very damaging to the governor to make that threat," Harris said. 
     
    12:05 pm
     
    In a conversation recorded on November 12, 2008, between Blagojevich (who can be heard lifting weights) and John Harris the governor discusses a 501c (4) issue advocacy organization he wants to set up.
     
    Blagojevich wants Obama to help him fund it by leaning on billionaires like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, in exchange for appointing Jarrett senator. 
     
    "And it would be my little platform!" "This is my way of playing a role in the national game."
     
    The idea was that Blagojevich would go run the organization, which would advocate for healthcare and pay him a hefty salary.
    The cost, $10-$15 million.
     

     

    Thursday Morning Blagojevich Coverage: 

    This trial is starting to become a headache for Obama. [Associated Press]

    Tony Rezko gets disinvited from defense's witness list. [Huffington Post]

    Judge won't gag Blago because he's just a broken record. [Ward Room]

    Blago's bubly character sours when he yells at Patti on a phone call. [Sun-Times]

    Previous Journals:

    Wednesday, June 23 Journal -- The Prince of Darkness Emerges

    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