FBI tapes: Blagojevich calls Obama 'all take, no give'

July 21, 2010 8:05:13 AM PDT
A former advisor testified Wednesday that Rod Blagojevich was jealous of President Barack Obama's political stardom.

Doug Scofield was on the stand Wednesday at the former governor's corruption trial. During Scofield's testimony, the prosecution played FBI recordings made in 2008 in which Blagojevich is heard talking to Scofield. He is heard saying he is willing to appoint an Obama favorite, but called the newly elected president quote - "all take and no give."

Blagojevich is heard on tape saying, "The arrogance of these people," just days after Obama's election to the White House.

Scofield also testified that Blagojevich was jealous of then-Senator Barack Obama's success and feared his own prospects for eventually becoming president would diminish if Obama won the presidency.

Calls were played in court Wednesday between Scofield and Blagojevich in November, 2008.

On the tapes Blagojevich is heard saying, "so, she's [Valerie Jarrett] holding Health and Human Services and I'm holding a US Senate seat. Okay? She's holding hers with two hands, just kinda clinging to, you know little pieces of it. Me, I've got the whole thing wrapped around my arms, mine, okay?...I'm willing to trade the thing I got tightly held for her for something she doesn't hold quite as tightly. How bad do you want what I have and can you get the other person [Obama] who's really got the, this, you know, who's, who had that, to do it. If you're her, you're Valerie Jarrett, I could be a US senator and a seat I, I can hold."

"What about Patti on some corporate boards, some paid corporate boards?" continues Blagojevich, apparently in reference to what his wife would get in exchange for his appointment of Jarrett to the Senate.

"Ok, think about what we say...if they feel like they can do this without giving me f---ing anything than I'll f---ing go Jesse Junior," Blagojevich said. "I mean the arrogance of these f---ing people."

On the tapes, Blagojevich is heard asking Scofield to leak to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed that Jesse Jackson, Jr. was a strong candidate for the Senate seat. They apparently wanted word of that to get to then-President-elect Barack Obama, since Rahm Emanuel had allegedly told Blagojevich's former chief of staff, John Harris, that Obama did not want Jackson, Jr. appointed.

Blagojevich also talked about wanting Chicago philanthropist and entrepreneur JB Pritzker to set up a non-profit organization for Blagojevich to run. He said on tape that if Pritzker did that for him, then maybe he should appoint Pritzker to the seat. Scofield told Blagojevich that was a bad idea, and that it would be hard to do without criticism. "You're darn right it's hard...I really believe you could do more good than just putting Valerie Jarrett there and getting nothing back," Blagojevich is heard saying on the call.

Scofield also told jurors the former governor talked openly about appointing himself to the U.S. Senate. Under direct examination by U.S. Assistant Attorney Reid Schar, Scofield said when he told Blagojevich that was a bad idea, the ex-governor became angry.

Things were put on hold briefly Wednesday morning because of an audio problem in the overflow courtroom.

On Tuesday, jurors heard a recording of a comment that may haunt the former governor.

On the day after the 2008 November general election, the former governor is heard on the phone with his former deputy governor and political advisor Doug Scofield.

The FBI was recording when Blagojevich said, "I've got this thing and it's f---ing golden. I'm not just giving it up for f---ing nothing. I can use it and parachute me there."

The government played the tape as part of Scofield's testimony.

After court Tuesday, Blagojevich made a statement but declined to answer questions about the latest tapes.

Blagojevich says his testimony will clarify all of the tape recorded conversations.


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