Blago Subpoenas Senate Majority Leader Reid - NBC Chicago
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Blago Subpoenas Senate Majority Leader Reid



    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was subpoenaed to testify at ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's upcoming corruption trial, Reid's office said Thursday.

    "As a routine legal matter, Senator Reid's attorney accepted service. This action does not mean that Senator Reid will testify at trial," Jim Manley, a spokesman for the Nevada Democrat, said in an e-mailed statement.

    U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin also has been subpoenaed to testify at Blagojevich's trial, which is scheduled to begin June 3. Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to charges of trying to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old Senate seat and plotting to illegally pressure potential campaign contributors.

    Blagojevich wanted to subpoena Obama to testify but the trial judge won't allow it.

    The former governor told The Associated Press last year that he wanted to subpoena Reid, a Nevada Democrat, because Reid was among the people he talked to about who to appoint to the Senate seat. Blagojevich ultimately awarded the seat to Democratic Sen. Roland Burris.

    Blagojevich has maintained that before he was arrested in December 2008 he had set in motion a plan to appoint Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the seat so he could cut a deal with her father, the powerful speaker of the Illinois House, to pass legislation he wanted.

    Sheldon Sorosky, Blagojevich's defense attorney, wouldn't talk Thursday about what Reid might say on the stand.

    "I don't know.  He hasn't testified yet," Sorosky said.

    Blagojevich appears to be casting a wide net for defense witnesses at his trial. But he didn't get the big fish he wanted when the judge turned down his request to subpoena Obama.

    U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said the request to subpoena the president fell ``very short,'' but Zagel said the matter could be looked at again if there was evidence that Obama had something relevant to share with the jury. Obama has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

    Durbin has said he spoke with Blagojevich once about the Senate seat, when he suggested 10 to 20 people Blagojevich might consider to fill the vacancy.