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Blago Wants Obama Interview Notes

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Blago Wants Obama Interview Notes
Jack Higgins
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Ready or not, Rod Blagojevich's retrial is scheduled to start in less than three weeks.

And since Judge James Zagel denied the impeached governor's motion to cancel the trial altogether, Blagojevich's lawyers have another request.

They want the government to hand over notes from FBI interviews with President Barack Obama that mention Blagojevich's corruption case. The request came Monday in a motion filed with the U.S. District Court in Chicago and is similar to the one filed -- and denied -- before the start of the first trial. 

Blagojevich faces 20 charges, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade an appointment to Obama's old U.S. Senate seat for a top job or campaign cash.

Obama hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing, and Zagel repeatedly has denied requests to bring the president into the case.

But the defense says in Monday's motion that the Obama interview notes could "go directly to the heart of testimony of several government witnesses," the Associated Press reports.

The notes particularly could spotlight testimony from Chicago union leader Tom Balanoff, who said in the first trial that he talked to Obama about the Senate seat just before the 2008 presidential election.

Balanoff's testimony contradicts other accounts, defense attorneys say, and notes from FBI interviews with Obama could clear up discrepancies.

The defense motion says the notes "would almost certainly have been disclosed if the interviewee was anyone other than the president."

Blagojevich's retrial is scheduled to start on April 20.

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