Blago Trial: Daily Journal 6/28 - NBC Chicago
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Blago Trial: Daily Journal 6/28



    Blago Trial: Daily Journal 6/28
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    Follow the Ward Room twitter feed, with action from inside the courtroom. 

    What to expect today: The defense gets a shot at cross-examining Blago's former chief of staff John Harris. Harris spent four days testifying for the prosecution about Blagojevich's desire to get himself a job in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to Obama's vacant senate seat.

    The defense will spend the better part of two days poking holes in Harris's testimony. Once the defense is finished with Harris, the prosecution will call Tom Balanoff, a union official who Blagojevich believed was an Obama emissary.

    9:00 am

    Attorneys for former governor Rod Blagojevich demanded a mistrial this morning, citing last week's Supreme Court ruling striking down portions of the so-called Honest Services statute.

    The lawyers say in their motion that not only should the honest services counts against Blagojevich be thrown out, but the entire case should now be halted, because a defendant has a right to know the charges he is facing before trial.

    Last week, judge James Zagel declared from the bench that his own cursory reading of the high court's decision indicated it would have little, if any, impact on the former governor's case.

    10:15 am 

    Nov 21, 2008, Rod Blagojevich wondered aloud about the possibility of appointing Oprah Winfrey to the Barack Obama senate seat.

    "She's a kingmaker!" he says. "She made Obama!"

    "Nobody would assail this pick," he says. "It's huge!"

    "Oprah is not far-fetched," Blagojevich contends. Then he concedes, "The odds of her f----ing taking it are slim to none."

    Blagojevich makes clear that he wants to appoint an African-American, but can't decide on a candidate he likes. He encourages chief of staff John Harris to look into Melody Spann Cooper of WVON radio, and Linda Johnson Rice of Johnson Publishing.

    He makes clear he doesn't want to pick Jesse Jackson, Jr.

    "I don't want to create an opportunity for him in two years!"

    Through it all, even though he says Harris should find him a real "Mother Teresa type," Blagojevich keeps returning to Oprah.

    "There's nothing affirmative action about her!"

    10:48  am

    In a tape from December 4, 2008, Rod Blagojevich warms to the idea of appointing Jesse Jackson, Jr. to the Obama Senate seat.

    Jesse Jackson, UBER African-American!" Blagojevich declares, noting that the appointment might help to stave off a possible gubernatorial challenge from State Sen. James Meeks.

    "He's come to me through third parties with offers of campaign contributions and help," Blagojevich says.  "$1.5 million!"


    Blagojevich, however, flies into a rage when Harris mentions the possibility of appointing former press secretary Cheryl Jackson.  "Cheryl Jackson, no f---ing way!" he says.  "She's so f---ing incompetent and a f---ing liar!"

    Jackson left the Blagojevich administration to head up the Chicago Urban League.

    Harris said Jackson once bounced a check to the Blagojevich campaign.

    11:01 am

    The prosecution finishes quesitoning Harris.

    Just before the prosecution finished questioning Harris, he testified about a meeting between Blagojevich and Jesse Jackson, Jr. Harris says Jackson gave Blagojevich a 3-ring binder highlighting his legislative record and asking for the appointment.

     He said after Blagojevich read the last tab of the binder he looked up and said, "Well I'm glad somebody's thinkimg about me and how they can help me!"

    The defense will begin its cross examination. 

    11:30 am

     Cross examination of John harris has begun - starting with Robert's attorneys.

    Rod's defense is not paying real close attention, rather scouring through dozens of legal pads full of notes.

    Robert is looking intently at Harris, while rocking back and forth in his chair. Rod is sitting patiently with his head tilted slighty to the left. Patti, sitting in the front row by herself, keeps sneaking lifesavers breath mints into her mouth and spent some time looking through the calender on her phone.

    This cross is rather boring in comparison to the theatrical antics of Rod's team.

    12:30 pm

    Check that: Blago's defense is likewise boring.  Sam Adam is taking Harris through a litany of names that have appeared in the trial log. Proving very tedious.

    2:20 pm

    The cross examination is going very slowly. Judge Zagel has sustained 27 objections against Sam Adam Sr.'s questions since lunch alone.

    3:30 p.m.

    On cross examination, defense lawyer Sam Adam tried to portray the former governor as a guy who blusters snoot and blows off steam.  He declared that Blagojevich would do that when he got upset, then settle down, and he asked John Harris if that wasn't what was going on in the alleged attempt to get the Tribune editorial board fired. 

    "On this particular subject, he persisted," Harris said.

    4:20 p.m.

    John Harris testifies on cross examination that he told Senate President Emil Jones he would be Rod Blagojevich's first pick for the Obama senate seat, at least in part to keep him happy should the General Assembly pursue impeachment.

    4:45 p.m.

    Harris agreed that Blagojevich was hoping, through appointing Lisa Madigan as Senator, to get a package of legislation through the House.  That package would have included expanded health care, a capital construction plan, no tax increase, and a promise not to impeach the governor.

    Defense lawyer Sam Adam said, "Did the governor say to you, that he hated the idea of appointing Lisa Madigan but if it's good for the people of Illinois I'll hold my nose and do it."

    "Yes," said Harris.  But he said he didn't think it was feasible.

    Monday Morning Blagojevich Coverage:

    Giannoulais gets the call. [NBCChicago]

    The sad, sad story of Alonzo Monk. [Southtown Star]

    A week of Blago recap. [Sun-Times]

    Blagojevich is more of a Chicago thing. [Ward Room]

    Previous Journals:

    Thursday, June 24 Journal -- "Appreciation?  F*** them!"

    Wednesday, June 23 Journal -- The Prince of Darkness Emerges

    Tuesday, June 22 Journal -- Strategizing for a Senate Deal

    Monday, June 21 Journal -- Track Owner Johnston Testifies

    Thursday, June 17 Journal -- Ali Ata Takes the Stand

    Wednesday, June 16 Journal -- Joseph Cari Talks 

    Tuesday, June 15 Journal -- Adam Calls Monk a Liar

    Monday, June 14 Journal -- Monk's Cross Exam Begins

    Thursday, June 10  Journal -- Monk's Cash Deal

    Wednesday, June 9 Journal -- First Witnesses

    Tuesday, June 8 Journal -- Opening Statements 



    Sam Adam is going thru a litany of every name which has come up at the cross examining Harris. Very slow. Tedious.


    The cross examination is going very slowly. Judge Zagel has sustained 27 objections against Sam Adam Sr.'s questions since lunch alone.