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Blago Trial: Live Journal 6/16

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Blago Trial: Live Journal 6/16

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

What to expect today: Joseph Armanda, an associate of convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko, will head back to the stand to tell the court about deals between Blagojevich and Rezko.

Also, David Abel, former debt manager will likely talk more about a $10 billion pension deal.

Later Joseph Cari, a private equity investor with ties to the Democratic party will testify about his role in scheming to fix the Teachers' Retirement System of Illinois. Cari has pleaded guilty to the crime. 

9:45 am:

Defense asks Judge Zagel to change back to his original tape-release schedule and only make the wire-tapped recordings public after the defense has a chance to cross-examine.

Zagel denied the request.

10:30 am:

Joseph Armanada, a one-time pizza franchise owner, says that Tony Rezko offered him a moneymaking opportunity, as long as he agreed to share profits with Blagojevich, Chris Kelly and Lon Monk.

Armanada said he felt uncomfortable with the deals.

11:30 am:

Tony Rezko associate Joseph Aramanda testified that he bailed out of a potentially lucrative business arrangement with Rezko, after learning that Rod Blagojevich and others were being cut in on the deal as well.

"I thought it was wrong," Aramanda said.

Previously, Aramanda testified that he was involved in a complicated web of payments stemming from potentially lucrative deals involving state government.  At one point, when he learned he was only going to get a $250,000 yearly payment, he said he thought his cut should be larrger.  He said Rezko told him "he had to cut others in."

Aramanda testified that when he asked who was now benefiting from the deal,  Rezko said "Lon, Chris, and Rod," meaning Blagojevich pals Lon Monk and Chris Kelly, and the governor himself.

12:30pm

Most of the chatter during break was over the confusion of all this money.  About a quarter of the observation seats are filled with with young college students in a journalism class. Clearly bored, one girl was even asleep for 20 minutes. The youngest juror in the box has been chewing on his pen ... writing things down every now and again.  Only one other juror, an older woman, is taking notes.  Sam Adam Sr. is fully reclined in his chair,  resting his head on  his elbow on the table. Blago, sitting with his head tilted, paying close attention to dates and firgues tossed around.

Aramanda, clearly annoyed with defense attorney Mike Gillepsy, speaks in a whisper that is barely audible even with a microphone in front of him.  He often corrects Gillespy and his line of questioning, answering 'no', then changing the facts to his version of the events, not what Gillespy is throwing at him. BREAK.

4:30pm

Former national Democratic fundraiser Joseph Cari took the stand this afternoon. The prosection questioned him about his contacts with Blagojevich fundraisers and about one of the more infamous and incriminating statements Blagojevich made.

Cari said he was introduced to the Blagojevich camp in 2003 by David Wilhelm, who was running the Blagojevich transition team. Cari eventually met with Christopher Kelly. Kelly asked him what it took to create a national fundraising effort. Blagojevich wanted to run for president.

In October 2003 Cari flew to New York with Blagojevich for a Blagojevich fundraiser on Stuart Levine's private jet. It was on that flight that Blagojevich said he wanted to run for president and cited President Clinton. Blagojevich said Clinton was able to raise a lot of money while governor because he controlled state contracts, according to Cari.

He was a sitting governor and as governor you are handing out contracts and you can go back and ask them for money," Blagojevich said, according to Cari.

"What did you understand Blagojevich to mean," asked the prosecution.

"That he would give out state business in exchange to go back and collect money," Cari said.

Trial adjourned for the day. Cari expected to be cross-examined Thursday.

5:30pm

The prosecution today asked for a gag order to prevent Blagojevich from speaking to the media after the court session was over. They said it amounted to a summation argument. Judge Zagel stopped short of issuing a gag order, telling the parties to work it out what can be said outside of court and get back to him Monday. In the meantime he said, exercise restraint.


Wednesday Morning Blagojevich Coverage:

Just two states have changed rules about Gubernatorial senate appointments in the wake of Blagojevich [Associate Press]  

Blago Tried a Bernie Kosar Hail Mary [Sun-Times

The former governor's vocabulary on display with released tapes [St. Louis Today

Rod's not picky: gov heard asking donors for "whatever" [Tribune]  

Previous Journals:

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

 

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