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Blagojevich Team Pressured Me to Donate, Says Racetrack Owner

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Blagojevich Team Pressured Me to Donate, Says Racetrack Owner

Maywood Park chief John Johnston testified Monday that in the fall of 2008 he was pressured to contribute thousands to Rod Blagojevich's campaign fund, in exchange for the governor's signature on a bill which he said was important to the Illinois horse industry.

Johnston said the bill, which diverted casino proceeds to racing venues statewide, meant $9000 a day to the two tracks.

He said former chief of staff Lon Monk was the one applying the pressure.

"He said, I spoke to the governor and he's afraid if he signs the racing  legislation you won't be forthcoming with a contribution."

"I said, your suggestion of a contribution at this time was inappropriate," Johnston testified.  "He said, I really need you to get a contribution in by the end of the year!"

"What did you think was going to happen if you did make a contribution,"  asked prosecutor Chris Niewoehner.

"They'd cash the check and sign the bill," Johnston said.

Johnston never wrote Blagojevich a check.  At the time the governor was arrested, he still had not signed the bill.
 

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