As jurors get the case in his second federal corruption trial, former governor Rod Blagojevich says he's grateful he finally got to tell his side of the story.
Rod Blagojevich arrived at the Federal Courthouse knowing that he would leave with his fate in the hands of the jury. Those 12 men and women recieved the case and will begin to deliberate Friday morning.
Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton began Thursday, by resuming her closing arguments. She lead the jury step by step through the charges against him, using a PowerPoint presentation to link the acts and the charges, and ending each slide with a bright red guilty stamp.
“What it comes down to is a single question," Hamilton said."Was he trying to get a benefit for himself in exchange for an official act?”
She also played an excerpt from an expletive laden tirade by the former governor after he learned Barack Obama wasn’t willing offer him a cabinet post in return for the appointment of Valarie Jarrett to his old Senate seat.
"The man who is about to be the leader of the free world," Hamilton said. "His response to him is, 'I get nothing from you?'"
In contrast to the government’s methodical presentation, Blagojevich attorney Aaron Goldstein appealed to the jury’s sense of fairness, emotionally telling them that his client never profited from what he is accused of doing.
“He didn’t get a dime, not a nickel in not in campaign contributions, not in his pocket. Nothing,” Goldstein said.
He admitted that Blagojevich loves to talk --sometimes overruling his own lawyers’ objections --but that’s all the recorded conversations show: a man who likes to think aloud.
“Did he come anywhere close to doing any of that?" he said directly to the jury. "Absolutely not.”
Goldstein also ridiculed the government’s PowerPoint explanation of events.
“They wanted to simplify this case because it was too complex," he said. “If it was too complex, they didn’t meet their burden.”
Because the government has the burden of proof, Prosecutor Reid Schar took one last chance to address the jury before Judge James Zagel read them their instructions.
They begin at 9:00 a.m. The jury took 14 days to decide last time around.