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Blago Trial: Live Journal 6/15

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Blago Trial: Live Journal 6/15
Blago Trial: Live Journal 6/15

Getty Images / Scott Olson

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (C) is flanked by his wife Patty (R), speaks with reporters after arriving at federal court on June 8, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.

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

What to expect today: More Monk. The defense took over questioning of Blago's former chief of staff lat Monday, and the cross-examination will continue Tuesday. If Sam Adam Jr. finishes with Monk, expect testimony from David Abel and Vinne Mazarrao.

10:00am
In the face of possibly losing his freedom for many years, Rod Blagojevich maintains an almost inexplicably sunny demeanor, glad-handing courtroom observers in line or even total strangers outside like he is still hoping to capture their vote for a phantom office he cannot possibly obtain.

This morning, Blagojevich greeted everyone in the metal detector line, cheerily declaring "We've got truth on our side!"
 
Then, summoned by the marhals who escort him into the building every morning, he said almost apologetically as he pointed at the metal detector, "One of the advantages of being in the dock is you get to cut in line!"
 
10:15 am
 
The curtain rises on Sam Adam Jr. The fiery defense attorney needs no microphone as he lays into Lon Monk during a second day of cross-examination.  Adam is dressed in a three piece gray suit with a pink tie, and he covers every inch of the courtroom as he puts on a theatrical performance, grilling the prosecution's witness.
 
"Before the 2002 election, has anyone ever come up to you to complain that Tony Rezko or Chris Kelly was inappropriately fundraising?" he asks Monk in a booming voice.  
 
 "No" Monk answers.
 
10:40 am
 Sam Adam Jr. has been cross-examining Lon Monk for nearly an hour now. But its not smooth sailing. The prosecution has objected to the defense attorney's line of quesitoning 29 times during that first hour.
 
Judge Zagel has sustained each and every one.
 
Zagel says that Adam is asking Monk to "draw conclusions" and that he is asking questions that are not relevant to the charges against Blagojevich. Adam has been advised to reword his questions. 

11:30am
During a withering cross examination of former chief of staff Alonzo Monk, defense lawyer Sam Adam, Jr. asked Monk to revisit a 2003 meeting where he had previously testified that he, Tony Rezko, Chris Kelly, and Blagojevich, schemed to split up the spoils of state government. Monk had said he recalled Rezko putting as many as nine moneymaking ideas on a board.

"We talked about making money and splitting it ourselves," Monk said.

"This was the first time the four of you sat down and agreed to commit crimes together?" Adam asked.

"Yes," Monk said.

"At the time you're doing this you knew you were committing felonies with the governor, correct?"

"Yes."

But Monk said he could not remember specifically what any of the ideas were.

"You are starting to commit crimes that can get you 20 years in the penitentiary and you can't remember the first one?" an incredulous Adam asked.

"They were just ideas," Monk said.

"How much were you going to make?"

"I can't remember."

Pointing to Blagojevich, "How much was HE going to make?"

"I can't remember."

Adam hammered away, establishing that for such a nefarious set of alleged events, Monk could give very few details about  alleged plots that most likely never came to fruition..

"The governor's sitting right there, right?  Tell us what he said to 'ya."

"I can't remember what, if anything, he said," Monk admitted.

"You never got a dime, not one dime?"

"Correct," Monk said.

"To your knowledge, neither did Rod?"

"To my knowledge," Monk said.

1:15pm
With his hand resting own his son's shoulder, and a round of laughs, it almost appears as Sam Adam Sr was congratulating his son, Sam Adam Jr., as they wrapped up cross examination of Lon Monk this morning. 

Despite over 45 objections by the prosecution, Adam slammed home the point that Monk was testifying, and was supposed to tell the truth, in order to receive a 2 year prison reduced prison sentence.

Adam would begin questions to Monk by asking "You really want a 2 year deal, right?", and Monk would answer "Yes". 

"You have to tell the truth to get it right?" Asked Adam, to which Monk replied "Yes."

Earlier in testimony today Monk told the jury that state board and commisoner seats were given to anyone who donated $25,000 to FOB. But during his last question on redirect of Monk, Adam asked "didn"t you tell the FBI during questioning in February of 2009 that there was never a specific contribution amount tied to board and commisson seats?".  Monk answered "I don't recall".  Adam then reponded by showing him the transcripts of the conversation, which led Monk to change his answer to "Yes".

 
1:30 pm:
 The prosecution calls on David Abel, a former debt manager under Blagojevich, to talk about alleged pension deals.
 
Jurors look bored as prosecutor Carrie Hamilton quizzes Abel about POB bonds and the state's decision to borrow $10 billion.  No jurors are taking notes during this period.
 
Afternoon testimony:
Witnesses David Abel, Vincent Mazzaro, and Joseph Aramanda took the stand.

Abel testified briefly about the number of times Abel had spoken to Blagojevich. Mazzaro, who worked in the municipal bond department at Bear Stearns, testified that his manager would have been responsible for hiring the consultant on the $10B bond deal for Illinois in 2003. That consultant, Robert Kjellander, stood to make nearly a million dollars from the sale of the bond.

 
Aramanda, a longtime friend of Tony Rezko and the alledged recepient of hundreds of thousands of dollars from Kjellander, testified that he received the money but had no idea it was connected to the $10B loan deal. Aramanda was to use the money for his pizza business, which he had purchased from Rezko. Rezko was the go-between with Kjellander. Aramanda also testified that Rezko had asked him if he would be interested in a position in the Blagojevich administration, but Aramanda turned it down because it wasn't the right fit.
 
Aramanda also testified that Rezko approached him to be the middleman on deals between the Teachers Retirement System and investment firms that would receive large amounts of money from TRS to invest.

Blagojevich Statement:
For Blagojevich's brief statement to the media at the end of the day, click here.

Attorney Sam Adam Statement:
Speaking to reporters after court Tuesday, Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam Jr. Said Lon Monk's testimony reveals that Blagojevich didn't try to extorn anyone [Watch Video]

Tuesday Morning Blagojevich Coverage:

The Blagojevich family hair takes on legendary status [Sun-Times]

Could Pat Quinn take the stand? [Chicago News Cooperative]

Prosecution bets on Monk's horsetrack testimony [Northwest Indiana Times]

Robert Blagojevich comes off as a sympathetic character [Southtown Star]


Previous Journals:

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


 

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