Blago Trial: Daily Journal 6/29 - NBC Chicago
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Blago Trial: Daily Journal 6/29



    Blago Trial: Daily Journal 6/29

    Follow the Ward Room twitter feed, with action from inside the courtroom. 

    What to expect today: The defense will continue to cross-examine Blago's former chief of staff John Harris. Sam Adam Sr. had success Monday in getting Harris to misspeak on the stand. Expect more of the same. 
    Once Harris is finished, the prosecution will call labor leader Tom Balanoff to the stand.  


    Lawyers for Rod Blagojevich attempted  this morning to learn whether prosecutors intend to call former Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko.  Before they could respond however, the judge interrupted.

    "I don't think I would force either side to make that decision now," he said.  "There's a name for witnesses like Rezko, which I will not repeat."

    The judge suggested that such witnesses turn out to NOT be good for the side that calls them.  There was no further discussion.


    John Harris says he advised Blagojevich NOT to pursue campaign contributions in exchange for a Senate appointment.

    Asked why Blagojevich suddenly changes his mind and said he would consider Jesse Junior, Harris said, "My understanding was the only thing that had changed was conversations he was having with third parties about campaign contributions."

    1:20 p.m.

    Tom Balanoff, the president of the local chapter of SEIU, testified that despite having the blessing of President Obama, it was clear Blagojevich was not inteterested in appointing Valerie Jarrett to the vacant senate seat without some sort of benefit to him.  

    During a meeting with Blagojevich at his office in the Thomson Center on November 6, 2008, Balanoff testified that he explained to the governor that while Obama had preferred to have Jarrett in the White House, she expressed interest in the senate seat.

    Balanoff explained to Blagojevich that it was a smart political decision for him:  "It would help him with African-Americans, women, businesses and labor unions."

    And while Blago agreed, his response was, "I am in active discussions with the Madigans and am seriously considering Lisa.   (Appointing her) would remove his main rival for the governors election and move his legislation forward."  

    When Balanoff advised him Valerie could not wait that long, Blago mentioned his love of health care and he could be Heath and Human Secretary.  To which Balanoff replied "that is not going to happen" (it's a story he would later share with Jarrett and they both got a good laugh out of it). 

    A follow-up meeting to discuss Jarrett again was scheduled for Saturday, Nov 8th, but Blagojevich cancelled, saying he'd be out of town.

    Balanoff also testified that Blagojevich became enraged when Giannoulious mentioned his interest in the Senate seat, shouting, “That motherf*****. Every chance he got he took a shot at me!”

    Balanoff went on to testify that Blagojevich told him he really needed to appoint an African American. “If Jan (Schawkosky) could show me she had ancestors who came over on a slave ship, she would be fine!” the governor said of the congresswoman.

    Tuesday Morning Blagojevich Coverage:  

    Rod's revenge subpoena's may work come election time. [Capitol Fax Blog]

    Blagojevich's campaign math coulcd benefit Quinn. [Daily Herald]

    Monday's tapes made Rod sound even more bizarre than usual. [Sun-Times]

    Senator Oprah? [Ward Room

    Previous Journals:

    Monday, June 28 Journal -- "She's a Kingmaker"

    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