Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Blago Called Himself "Best Damned Governor"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Among the last defense witnesses in Rod Blagojevich's retrial was a former South Side congressman, brought in to repair the previous damaging testimony of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

    Bill Lipinski testified that he never asked Jackson for a contribution to Blagojevich's campaign for governor.

    Previously, Jackson had said that he had turned down such a request, then later saw his wife passed over for state lottery job. He also testified about an encounter in which he said the Elvis fan governor snapped his fingers and said, "You should have given me the $25,000."

    While Lipinski said he never asked Jackson for the contribution, he admitted that he'd contributed $25,000 to Blagojevich’s first campaign and later saw his wife get a job with the state court of claims.

    Prosecutors asked if Lipinski thought Blagojevich was aware of the contribution when the then-governor gave his wife the job.

    "I never thought of him being aware of the $25,000 or not," Lipinski testified. "He was certainly aware of my strong support for him during the course of the primary and general election."

    Other testimony shed light on Blagojevich’s ego.  A Canadian cement company official told the jury that during a 2008 lunch with Blagojevich, the governor talked about what he had done for the people of Illinois and free rides for seniors.

    "He said he was the best damned governor in the history of the U.S.," recalled Richard Olsen, who testified as part of the government rebuttal case.

    The prosecution will present its closing arguments Wednesday afternoon. The defense will make its arguments Thursday.

    Follow along with Wednesday's play-by-play in our live blog.