Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rob Blago Flounders on Stand

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Robert Blagojevich had trouble today explaining a phone call where Rod Blagojevich suddenly declared that he was elevating Jesse Jackson, Jr. to the top of his list of candidates for the U.S. Senate.  That decision followed an offer from Indian businessmen to raise massive amounts of money for Blagojevich on Jackson's behalf.

    In the call previously played by the government, the governor angrily reminds his brother about "promises of help," if he appointed Jackson.  But Robert testified he didn't make the link to the previous financial overture from the Indian community.

    During the call from December 4, 2008, Rod Blagojevich says, "You know if in fact, this is possible, then some of this stuff's gotta start happening now.  Right now.  And we gotta see it!"

    It seemed to be a direct reference to the promises of money for the Jackson appointment.  But when defense attorney Michael Ettinger asked Robert Blagojevich, "What's he telling you," the Blagojevich brother shrugged on the witness stand and said, "Not sure at that point!"

    It was the first real weak moment for the former governor's brother, in what had been a strong appearance on the stand.

    The rest of Rob Blagojevich's testimony, however, was strong, with the defense portraying him as a virtuous campaign worker who observed finance laws.