Rod Blagojevich says there is a missing undercover tape which can prove his innocence. And his lawyers have filed a motion in federal court, asking the government to produce it.
The former governor’s lawyers say the tape in question documents a conversation between Rahm Emanuel and John Harris, who was Blagojevich’s chief of staff. The motion says the purported missing call, if it exists, would prove that Blagojevich had no intention of selling Barack Obama’s vacant senate seat.
To be certain, the evidence of such a phone call is purely circumstantial. In their filing, the attorneys note that a report issued by the Obama transition team found that "between the time Mr. Emanuel decided to accept the position of Chief of Staff in the White House, and December 8, 2008, Mr. Emanuel had about four telephone conversations with John Harris, Chief of Staff to the Governor, on the subject of the Senate seat."
They argue that the government has only tendered three of those conversations.
"The fourth and final phone call is the call that is mysteriously missing," writes defense attorney Lauren Kaesberg. "The government never turned over this pivotal recording, nor a transcript of this call."
"Through piecing together multiple documents after the first trial," Kaesberg continues, "Blagojevich uncovered the fact that the December 8th phone call…took place."
During a Tuesday morning campaign appearance, Emanuel made his most extensive comments yet on his involvement in the Senate transactions, noting that the transition team report on the matter noted that “nothing inappropriate” had taken place.
"The governor’s representative said, 'What’s in it for us,' and I responded, 'You’ll get thanks and appreciation.'"
That closely tracks a Nov. 11, 2008 undercover recording played at the trial. When told of Emanuel’s position that all he would offer was "thanks and appreciation," Blagojevich is heard saying, "They’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. (EXPLETIVE) them!"
The U.S. attorney’s office declined comment. The two sides are due back in court in two weeks.