What to expect today: The defense will continue to cross-examine Blago's former chief of staff John Harris. Sam Adam Sr. had success Monday in getting Harris to misspeak on the stand. Expect more of the same.
Once Harris is finished, the prosecution will call labor leader Tom Balanoff to the stand.
Lawyers for Rod Blagojevich attempted this morning to learn whether prosecutors intend to call former Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko. Before they could respond however, the judge interrupted.
"I don't think I would force either side to make that decision now," he said. "There's a name for witnesses like Rezko, which I will not repeat."
The judge suggested that such witnesses turn out to NOT be good for the side that calls them. There was no further discussion.
John Harris says he advised Blagojevich NOT to pursue campaign contributions in exchange for a Senate appointment.
Asked why Blagojevich suddenly changes his mind and said he would consider Jesse Junior, Harris said, "My understanding was the only thing that had changed was conversations he was having with third parties about campaign contributions."
Tom Balanoff, the president of the local chapter of SEIU, testified that despite having the blessing of President Obama, it was clear Blagojevich was not inteterested in appointing Valerie Jarrett to the vacant senate seat without some sort of benefit to him.
During a meeting with Blagojevich at his office in the Thomson Center on November 6, 2008, Balanoff testified that he explained to the governor that while Obama had preferred to have Jarrett in the White House, she expressed interest in the senate seat.
Balanoff explained to Blagojevich that it was a smart political decision for him: "It would help him with African-Americans, women, businesses and labor unions."
And while Blago agreed, his response was, "I am in active discussions with the Madigans and am seriously considering Lisa. (Appointing her) would remove his main rival for the governors election and move his legislation forward."
When Balanoff advised him Valerie could not wait that long, Blago mentioned his love of health care and he could be Heath and Human Secretary. To which Balanoff replied "that is not going to happen" (it's a story he would later share with Jarrett and they both got a good laugh out of it).
A follow-up meeting to discuss Jarrett again was scheduled for Saturday, Nov 8th, but Blagojevich cancelled, saying he'd be out of town.
Balanoff also testified that Blagojevich became enraged when Giannoulious mentioned his interest in the Senate seat, shouting, “That motherf*****. Every chance he got he took a shot at me!”