The circus-like scene outside the Dirksen federal building began much more than the case to decide whether Rod Blagojevich is guilty or innocent. Many experts agree the trial will expose an ugly truth about Illinois government.
"If government was run the way the Feds say in their indictment, that everything was for sale--jobs contracts and appointments--then we really have to revamp an awful lot of things," said Andy Shaw, Better Government Association.
The state Republican Party launched a website Thursday morning called Blagofiles.com. It will feature daily updates on the trial, featuring misdeeds by the dominant Democrats hoping to fuel what some experts say is an anti-incumbent mood in the electorate.
"People don't want the incumbents. They don't want the incumbent party. They want something new. They don't care who it is or what it is," said Delmarie Cobb, political consultant.
Hours of wiretapped evidence reportedly include the voices of Illinois Senator Dick Durbin discussing who Blagojevich should appoint to succeed Barack Obama. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel reportedly also is on tape. Cobb speculates that what Emanuel says and how he says it could affect his desire to one day become mayor of Chicago.
"If he's as caustic as we hear, I can't imagine that people would consider him for mayor of the city of Chicago," said Cobb.
Then there's Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., whose supporters allegedly were willing to pay Blagojevich to appoint Jackson--who has not been charged-- to the Senate seat. His Republican opponent, Isaac Hayes, is hoping voters remember Jackson's involvement when they go to the polls in November.
"The day before the governor's arrest he met with Jesse Jackson, Jr. and prosecutors felt they had to act or the deal was going to go down. So there is some connection, he's a major player in this," said Hayes.
The case has attracted national attention. And possibly, will have national political implications if certain subpoenaed testimony actually happens.
"The defense has already confirmed that they're going to call Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett from the Obama Administration and depending on how that testimony goes, that could be damaging to the Obama administration," said Shaw.The campaigns keeping the closest watch on trial developments are those for Illinois governor and the U.S. Senate.