Blago judge to allow new tapes

July 16, 2010 4:32:00 AM PDT
The judge in the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich says the defense can play some -- but not all -- of the FBI wiretap recordings.(Download Blagojevich trial documents at justice.gov as they are entered into evidence).

The former governor has waited a year and a half to tell his side of the story. That opportunity could come as early as next week when the defense takes over on Monday.

Blagojevich has said he will take the stand and he's expected to say that he put the people first and that his recorded thoughts to the contrary amounted to just venting - that the real Blagojevich is the one on the stand and not on the tapes. However, prosecutors will have their turn next.

"What they will do is, 'You said you acted in the public interest. Did you say this?' And then push the play button and he'll come on and say I'm sick and tired and I'm gonna put my family first, I'm gonna benefit me first. 'Did you say that?' What's he gonna say? He's gonna have to say yes, I said it," said Ron Safer, former Asst. U.S. Attorney.

Blagojevich was not in court Thursday, but his attorneys and prosecutors met with the judge and settled on roughly a dozen FBI tapes that will be allowed to play. One involves Children's Memorial Hospital and the charge that the hospital's CEO was asked to hold a campaign fundraiser after the state promised more money for the hospitals pediatric doctors. On tape, Blagojevich says "One is not for the other."

The ex-governor has been preparing for cross examination.

"He has charisma. He is persuasive. All it takes is to convince one juror and he can avoid being convicted," said Safer.

It's unclear yet who will testify first-- the ex -governor or his brother, Robert Blagojevich who will also take the stand. The brothers sit at separate defense tables and have had little noticeable interaction during the trial.

"Robert loves his brother as his brother loves him, but these are tough times for both - very stressful and they each have their own situations and they don't intertwine," said Mike Ettinger, attorney for Robert Blagojevich.

(Download Blagojevich trial documents at justice.gov as they are entered into evidence. )


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