Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Blago Trial: Daily Journal 7/1

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    NEWSLETTERS

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

    What to expect today:   The defense filed three separate mistrial motions Wednesday. All of them relate to how Judge Zagel has treated the defense team. Zagel will likely address the mistrial motions today.  
     
    Also, the prosecution will redirect questioning of former Blagojevich adviser Doug Scofield after the defense questioned him Wednesday.
     
    10:00 am
     
    At least one juror appears to be in a festive mood. He's wearing a stars and stripes tie to celebrate Independence Day.
     
    11:40
     
    Prosecution witness and IRS agent Shari Schindler testified that Rod and Patti Blagojevich were in substantial debt during his time in office and were desperate for cash to crawl out. Schindler said the couple carried balances on 8 or 9 credit cards, and at one point in August of 2008, their credit card debt alone hit $95,000. The month prior, their total credit debt totaled $215,000.
     
    Schindler testified that the Blagojevichs spent more than they earned in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007. She also said between 2001 and 2008, convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko wrote Patti's company, River Realty, checks totaling $229,672.50.
     
    From January 2002 to December 2008, after their mortgage, by far the largest expense for Rod and Patti Blagojevich was for clothing. During that period, they spent more than $400,000 at various clothing stores and companies. The largest recipient was Tom James/Oxford Clothes, a custom tailor.
     
    2:40 pm
     
    As Blagojevich talked to aides who told him he needed to appoint Jarrett because it's the right thing to do, he goes on about a ten minute screaming tirade about his family's financial troubles. 
     
    It's clearly the reason he wants the deal.  "I've gotta find a way to take some of the financial pressure off of my family!"
     
    During the same conversation one of his aides tells him, "If you appoint yourself, you're a national joke!"
     
    5:40 pm

    Rod and Patti spent over $400,000 on clothes since he took office, according to an IRS witness.


    IRS agent Shari Schindler testified that the family's balances on 8 or 9 credit cards hit $95,000 in August of 2008, and their total credit debt approached $215,000 the month prior (that was the total of credit cards and a line of credit).

    Schindler testified that in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007, Blagojevich and his wife spent more than they made.  And from January 2002 until the governor's arrest in December of 2008, they spent over $400,000 on clothes. [Full details here]

    Also in testimony this afternoon: Blagojevich on tape admitting that he didn't want to be governor for two more years and felt like "the world is passing me by."

    Also testifying today: the accountant from Tony Rezko's REZMAR construction company testified that Patti was paid thousands of dollars for doing absolutely nothing.

     
    Thursday Morning Blagojevich Coverage:

    Is Blago blowback headed toward the White House? [Time Magazine]

    Tapes reveal Rod is a master of curse words. [Illinois Statehouse News]

    Beware the "yes men" [Chicago Tribune]

    Honest services could have a small impact on the trial. [Ward Room]

    Previous Journals:

    Wednesday, June 30 Journal -- Scofield's Scapegoat

    Tuesday, June 29 Journal -- Tom Balanoff talks about Valerie Jarrett

    Monday, June 28 Journal -- "She's a Kingmaker"

    *** WEEK THREE ***

    Thursday, June 24 Journal -- "Appreciation?  F*** them!"

    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

    *** WEEK TWO ***

    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

    *** WEEK ONE ***

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

    Wednesday, June 9 Journal -- First Witnesses

    Tuesday, June 8 Journal -- Opening Statements