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On tapes, advisors seem to go along with Blago

July 21, 2010 8:03:07 AM PDT
This week in the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich we heard the former governor on tape talking a lot. However, it's what we didn't hear in the expletive-laden phone conversations that is raising some real questions.

ABC 7's Paul Meincke is here with a closer look at this week's developments.

What we didn't hear -- at least consistently -- are his close advisors saying, "Governor, what you're saying here is not only a bad idea, but it may be illegal. Don't do it." Union boss Tom Balanoff did tell Blagojevich that he could forget the idea of becoming Secretary of Health and Human Services. And former chief of staff John Harris did say that appointing Oprah Winfrey to the Senate was "way out there." But, more often than not, his advisors seemed to "go along" with what they now say were "absurd" ideas.

"I was very pleased to be able to testify on behalf of the prosecution," said Doug Scofield, former Blagojevich advisor

Former Deputy Governor Doug Scofield was offering advice to his old boss in November of 2008 when Blagojevich was looking for something in return for the Senate appointment:

BLAGO: "But you know what about Patti on some, you know corporate boards? Paid Corporate boards right now. Can they help us that way?"
SCOFIELD: "I think they could."
BLAGO: "Yeah. so..."
SCOFIELD: "The, the President-elect, they think he can do most anything he sets his mind to if he wants."
BLAGO: "Yeah."

Defense lawyers are quick to say that Scofield and others in their taped conversations are actively agreeing with Blagojevich, not saying to him, "Whoa, you're going down the wrong path here, fella."

Scofield on the stand said he was just placating an old boss known for his infamous temper.

Ex-chief of staff John Harris, who often challenged Blagojevich and because of it earned the nickname Prince of Darkness," says staffers felt so beat up they soon retreated.

Some spoke their mind. In one call, political consultant Bill Knapp advises Blagojevich not to name himself to the Senate:

KNAPP: "Because I think it's a--it makes you a national joke."

Later in the call Blagojevich lets loose:

BLAGO:: "I mean, you guys are telling me I just gotta suck it up for two years and do nothing. Give this (expletive) his Senator. (Expletive) him! For nothing? (Expletive) him. I'll put Louanner there before I do that."
KNAPP: "You'd do what?"
BLAGO: "I'll put Louanner in the Senate before I just give (expletive) Valerie Jarrett a (expletive) Senate seat, and I don't get anything from some (expletive) chicken (expletive)...Oh, don't get me started."

"How many people do you know that work for the boss that was sent up to tell the boss what they think. A lot of people have tremendous trepidation about doing that. They will not tell the boss what the boss needs to know," said Ald. Ed Smith, 28th Ward.

Scofield says he got lots to say, but not just now.

"I think at the conclusion, when the jury has rendered its verdict, there's much more I'd be happy to say," Scofield sad.

When the defense begins its case, Blagojevich's lawyers will attempt to show that the ex-governor acted on the recommendations of his key legal people -- that they knew where his head was at -- and that what he said or did wasn't beyond the boundaries of their legal advice.


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