Former Blago Aide Testifies About Obama Seat - NBC Chicago
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Former Blago Aide Testifies About Obama Seat



    Former Blago Aide Testifies About Obama Seat
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    The jury selection for Rod Blagojevich's retrial continued this week. Jurors were excused for a variety of reasons including one juror who had tickets to the Oprah Winfrey Show. Keep up with all the Blago Trial news at Ward Room.

    Rod Blagojevich's former chief-of-staff, John Harris, said Tuesday a 2008 conversation made him realize the then-Illinois governor was trying to sell political power.

    John Harris said during his retrial testimony that discussions increased about Barack Obama's Senate seat after Obama was elected president. And before he was elected, Harris said Blagojevich once offered the seat to Illinois Senate president Emil Jones.

    Harris testified that he was there when Blagojevich told Jones the seat was his if he wanted it, though Jones expressed no interest.

    Later, on Oct. 6, 2008, the seat was brought up again, this time directly to Harris.

    "What do you think I can get for this?" Harris testified Blagojevich asked him during a car ride. Harris said Tuesday he was taken aback at the time and said, "Well, for you, nothing. ... But you can reward an ally or make an ally."

    Harris called it a turn of events, when he realized that Blagojevich thought he could take something for himself.

    Harris was second on the stand during Blagojevich's second corruption trial. He went after FBI agent Dan Cain, who answered questions about the wiretap process.

    When defense lawyers tried asking Cain how many hours of FBI wiretap recordings exist, an irritated Judge James Zagel warned them it was crossing the line. Zagel previously ruled he wouldn't allow the former governor's lawyers to suggest the government was hiding evidence.