Prosecution Testimony Continues in Blagojevich Trial, Could Wrap Up on Tuesday
Federal prosecutors say the corruption trial of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is moving forward faster than expected and there is a good chance they will rest their case on Tuesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar made the announcement in court Thursday after Judge James Zagel sent the jury home for the weekend.
Blagojevich's attorneys asked if they could be given more time to prepare given that the prosecution finished sooner than expected. Zagel said he wasn't inclined to grant that but would entertain the idea next week. He said at the earliest they would launch their case on Wednesday.
Earlier during trial proceedings on Thursday, jurors heard an FBI wiretap tape in which Rod Blagojevich told a political pollster on an FBI wiretap tape that naming U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to the Senate seat Barack Obama was leaving would yield "tangible political support.'' Blagojevich referred to "specific amounts and everything,'' and adds "there is some of it up front.''
Jackson has been accused of no wrongdoing in the case. But prosecutors say there is evidence that his supporters spoke about raising a large sum for Blagojevich if he would name the congressman to the Senate.
Also on a wiretap tape, Blagojevich was heard cursing everyone from the president to reporters. The target of his fury was the people of Illinois.
In a phone conversation with an aide, Blagojevich talked about legislative successes. Later he cited poll numbers that show his support at all-time lows.
Sounding increasingly angry, he directed his ire at his constituents, saying that, "Only 13 percent of you all think I'm doing a good job.'' He then cursed as he denounces the public as a whole.
Also on Thursday, former Deputy Governor Robert Greenlee testified that Blagojevich hid in the bathroom or left the office early to avoid discussing complex issues.
Greenlee testified that former key aide John Filan had to chase Blagojevich to discuss important state matters.
Greenlee testified that he had to dine with the Blagojevich family at a bowling alley to get the governor to focus on legislation.
He said he was skeptical when Blagojevich spoke of his hopes of getting a job in Washington but kept quiet because Blagojevich could be argumentative if he didn't like what he heard.
Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to charges including scheming to exchange President Barack Obama's former Senate seat for a high paying job, Cabinet post or massive campaign contribution.