The government began its closing arguments Monday against Rod Blagojevich with a simple idea: even though the former governor was an inept crook, he was still a crook.
"Talking is the crime here," said attorney Chris Niewoehner. Echoing sentiments that Judge James Zagel expressed late last week, Niewoehner said that Blagojevich only had to conspire to commit the crime, not actually execute on it.
"Attempts don't have to work," he said.
Using a giant screen and an elaborate PowerPoint presentation, Niewoehner then went gone thru every alleged shakedown scenario -- reminding the jurors that they received proof of each, and which witnesses provided it.
After each, Niewoehner listed the affirmative acts Rod Blagojevich took in each, and the relevant counts in the indictment.
"That was the governor of the state of Illinois, talking, scheming, and announcing he was going to do his absolute best to make money from this newfound power!" Niewoehner said.
Niewoehner also lectured the jury about how Blagojevich's corruption started from day one. He reminded them that Rezko was a fast food businessman and Kelly was a roofer. But Blagojevich put them in "the drivers' seat of state government."