Prosecutors ended their cross-examination of Rod Blagojevich before lunch on Tuesday.
On the third day of cross-examination, the prosecution turned their attention to fundraising and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.
“Is it fair to say you were not a big fan of Congressman Jackson?” asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar. “Yes,” Rod Blagojevich responded.
On government tapes, Blagojevich can be heard talking about his disdain for the South Side Congressman, while apparently considering a fundraising pitch from a group of Indian supporters who wanted to see Jackson appointed to Barack Obama’s Senate seat.
But Blagojevich maintained that his words on the tapes and in the transcripts read aloud in court did not convey his true intentions.
“I understood that he said that if I supported Congressman Jackson,” Blagojevich said, “someone would raise $500,000 up front and there would be another million dollars.”
When pressed on whether such an offer constituted a bribe, the ex-governor bristled at the term.
“If you are offering me cash personally, that’s a bribe. If you are offering me campaign funds I know that’s illegal,” he said.
Again this morning, Blagojevich disregarded his lawyers’ objections and continued answer some questions posed by prosecutors.
Judge James Zagel has said he would allow the ex-governor some freedom during his own testimony.
After cross-examination ended, Zagel again warned Blagojevich to stop talking when the prosecution objects. “I do not want to admonish you in front of the jury,” he said.