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What to expect today: Jurors are back in court after the long 4th of July weekend. Today they'll hear more from Michael Winter, the former office-mate of convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko. Winter, who was implicated in a Rezko kickback scheme, testified last week that Patti Blagojevich, who was on Rezko's payroll, never did any work.
Also today, Judge James Zagel has to rule on the admissibility of some evidence before the Blagojevich lawyers can mount their defense. That portion of the trial could start soon, as prosecutors indicated they could wrap their case in the next couple weeks.
Among witnesses we will hear from today will be two FBI agents: Jane Ferguson will testify about documents returned from a subpoena on Patti Blagojevich's real estate company, River Realty. Pat Murphy will testify about the FBI's interview with Rod Blagojevich, during which he is accused of making misleading statements.
Before the trial resumes, Judge Zagel dismisses juror #115, a female, because there of an illness in her family.
Realtor Mary Ann Piazzi testified that she was the exclusive realtor for the sale of a Tony Rezko condo property at 1069 W. Chestnut Ave., a development called St. John's Park. She said the buyers had a realtor as well, and that both she and that realtor earned a 2.5% commission. She said no one else should have been paid.
Previous testimony has shown that Tony Rezko paid Patti Blagojevich a $14,369 commission for the project, even though she did no apparent work on the sale.
Piazzi said she never met Patti Blagojevich, and in fact never heard of her company.
Agent Patrick Murphy testified about his interview with Rod Blagojevich in March of 2005.
Murphy said at the time, Blagojevich was being investigated for soliciting campaign contributions in exchange for awarding state contracts and jobs, and the extent to which he was aware of what was being given to his campaign.
He testified that Blagojevich said he stayed a "million miles" away from issuance of contracts, and that he tried to maintain a "firewall" between politics and government.
Murphy said Blagojevich told him he did not track who contributed to him or how much they gave.
In fact he said Blagojevich insisted that even though he knew about contributors before becoming governor, that after his election he took himself out of that process.
He said the FBI wanted to record that interview, bit the governor's lawyers refused that request.
(This all relates to count 24, making false statements to the FBI)
Former Blagojevich campaign finance director Kelly Glynn testified that it was always important to have lots of money in the campaign accounts as fundraising deadlines neared.
"To ensure that you're the front runner, you want to have the most cash on hand," she said. "It's similar to, 'I have the most friends in the classroom'!"
FBI agent Patrick Murphy testified that during his interview with then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the governor insisted that he maintained what he called a "firewall" in his office between state business and politics. Blagojevich further stated that he did not track who contributed to his campaign fund or how much was given.
But two different finance directors from Friends of Blagojevich testified that the governor actually ha intimate knowledge of campaign giving. Former fundraising chief Danielle Stilz said Blagojevich was "very active" in campaign finance meetings.
"He had intimate knowledge of the numbers," she said. "He knew them better than I did."
Two former finance directors testified that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich had a standard term for big money campaign donors who promised one thing but came up with less. He called them "bullsh****rs"
Former campaign finance director Danielle Stilz testified that she was instructed not to pay Rod Blagojevich's skyrocketing bills to Winston and Strawn because her superiors did not want those legal expenses to show up in the governor's D2 campaign reports.
She said she left in 2007 because she thought the organization's fundraising expectations were "unrealistic." She said Blagojevich said she didn't know what she was talking about.
A juror sent the judge a note. He said he found it of "minimal significance."
After reading it, attorneys for both sides agreed.
"It's trivial," the judge said, "but it's a sign they're listening to instructions."
The contents were not divulged.
Blagojevich coupled legislation and fundraising, according to several witnesses.
And the day's wrap-up, from Phil Rogers.
Tuesday Morning Blagojevich Coverage:
Blagojevich may be clinically narcissistic, psychologists say. [Daily Herald]
Blago brothers appear still to have a rift [Associated Press]
Is Blago's life story a Shakespearean tragedy, a slapstick comedy or farce? [Chicago Tribune]
*** WEEK FOUR ***
*** WEEK THREE ***
Thursday, June 24 Journal -- "Appreciation? F*** them!"
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*** WEEK ONE ***