From AP - News Headlines -

Blagojevich Starting to Crumble on the Stand

(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)

For much of his time on the stand in his corruption retrial, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been engaging, articulate, funny and most importantly, believable, but that's changing, and on Wednesday he was struggling to explain his own words to jurors.

His attorney, Aaron Goldstein, started leading him through some of the more damning evidence related to appointing a senator to replace Barack Obama. Even with his lawyer's softball questions, Blagojevich was flustered.

On one tape, Blagojevich talks about Valerie Jarrett, an adviser to Obama. Blagojevich says Jarrett knows that he's willing to appoint her to the Senate. He wonders how much she wants the position and how hard she'll push to get Blagojevich an appointment to Obama's cabinet.

Blagojevich insists the two weren't connected. Goldstein asked what Blagojevich meant when he talked about this. Instead of answering, Blagojevich reread the transcript while mumbling and finally said "I don't know what I'm saying here," and then asked his attorney to help him.

The ousted Illinois governor is expected to testify further Thursday about the allegation that he sought to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.

The 54-year-old faces 20 criminal counts, including attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit bribery. He denies all wrongdoing.

(Robert Wildeboer/IPR)