Rod Blagojevich Returns to the Stand
(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is be back on the witness stand today trying to convince jurors that he is innocent. He spent about six hours in total on the stand last week.
He is still being questioned by his own attorney Aaron Goldstein. The questions give Blagojevich a chance to say that he never extorted anyone. Blagojevich says he never explicitly or implicitly threatened to withhold state action if they didn't give him campaign contributions.
He has told jurors that it's important for politicians to raise money because, "this is the system that we have in America."
He said the U.S. Supreme court has protected campaign contributions under the first amendment right to free speech. He has also told jurors that following fundraising laws can be delicate because of the nature of politics and he's explaining how he tried to follow the laws.
Prosecutors could spend days challenging Blagojevich's assertions after defense attorneys finish their questioning.
Blagojevich has so far only addressed about half of the allegations against him. The 54-year-old hasn't yet touched on the most serious accusation that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old U.S. Senate seat for a top job or campaign cash.
His attorneys have said Blagojevich most likely wouldn't delve into that explosive allegation until later this week.
He faces a total of 20 counts. He has denied any wrongdoing.
(AP Photo/Tom Gianni)