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Lost Amid the Hullabaloo, Blagojevich Defense Actually Scored Victory

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Lost Amid the Hullabaloo, Blagojevich Defense Actually Scored Victory
Lost Amid the Hullabaloo, Blagojevich Defense Actually Scored Victory

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Lost amid the hullabaloo of Monday's revelation that Rod Blagojevich seriously considered Oprah Winfrey for the US Senate, was the fact that the defense actually scored a rare victory.

On the stand was John Harris, the former loyal chief of staff who has turned star government witness. On cross examination from folksy defense lawyer Sam Adam, Harris had to admit that yes, Blagojevich was, at one point, trying to squeeze something good out of that infamous Senate seat for the people of Illinois.

The governor and House Speaker Michael Madigan were the don't-invite-'em item of Springfield.  They despised each other.  And Harris confirmed that Attorney General Lisa Madigan was not far behind.

But he admitted that Blagojevich hoped to negotiate a package of legislation with Madigan, in exchange for appointing his daughter to Barack Obama's vacant job.  Expanded health care, a capital building program, no tax increase, and yes, a little something for the governor: a promise not to impeach him. If he could get that laundry list out of the Speaker, Harris said, Blagojevich would make the call.

"I hate the idea of appointing Lisa Madigan," he quoted the governor as saylng, but if it's best for the people of Illinois, I'll hold my nose and go ahead and do it."

Adam continues to struggle with his questioning strategy in front of the jury.  During Monday's cross-examination, Judge James Zagel sustained 64 objections filed by the prosecution.

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