Blago defense: Prosecution 'making faces'

May 31, 2011 10:20:56 AM PDT
The defense is accusing prosecutors of ''making faces'' while former governor Rod Blagojevich testifies in his corruption trial.

The defense team told Judge James Zagel during the Tuesday morning break that they think prosecutors are distracting jurors. "I did not see any of this," Judge Zagel said. He said the only faces he has seen are coming from the first row behind the defense, which is where Blagojevich's wife, Patti, is sitting.

Jurors were not in court for the discussion.

Blagojevich, 54, is in his third day of testimony. He faces 20 counts, including allegations of trying to trade a U.S. Senate seat for personal gain. He is also accused of pressuring people to make donations to his campaign in exchange for state business.

Blagojevich denies any wrongdoing.

The defense picked up where they left off before the long Memorial Day holiday and asked Blagojevich about allegations that the former governor held up state business to squeeze campaign contributions from a racetrack owner and road builder.

On the stand Tuesday, Blagojevich was asked about a December 3, 2008, conversation he had with a top aide and good friend, Lon Monk. Monk, who took the stand for the prosecution on May 17, was questioned about the same conversation, which was recorded by FBI wiretaps.

MONK: He's gonna sign the bill and all of a sudden you're going to give a contribution. Yeah, I don't wanna say that.

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

MONK: 'Cause then he's gonna say you're right, you know we can't do it right now.

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

MONK: So, I wanna say...

BLAGOJEVICH: You could say he could sign the bill right after the first of the year. I think you just say that. He's gonna sign all his bills, he's signing all, he's doing all his bills right...

MONK; No. Look, I wanna go to him without crossing the line and say, give us the f---in' money.

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

MONK: (UI), give us the money and one has nothing to do with the other...

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

MONK: ...but give us the f---in' money. Because they're losin', they're losing 9,000 a day.

BLAGOJEVICH; Okay.

MONK: For every day it's not signed.

The conversation continues:

BLAGOJEVICH: Okay. So you go see him?

MONK: Yeah, I'm gonna call him (UI).

BLAGOJEVICH: What are you gonna say to him? Be careful.

MONK: I'm gonna say, I'm gonna say to him, stop screwin' around, get me the money (UI), the concern is, is that, um, he, you know, holding back and want to group all these bills together, but what's affecting him is that he feels like you're gonna get skittish if he signs the bill, get me?. I'm going to use the word skittish.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah.

MONK: Assumes, you know, at some point (UI).

BLAGOJEVICH: (UI). And he'd like some separation between that and signing the bill.

MONK: Define separation.

BLAGOJEVICH: A week.

The witness then played a conversation in which Blagojevich spoke with John Harris, a former aide.

"You had to pick one where I'm swearing, huh? I'm sorry again about that language," Blagojevich said.

Blagojevich apologized -- once again -- for his use of profanity, which has peppered the conversations recorded by the FBI. Blagojevich has yet to address the most explosive expletive and allegation -- involving the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by newly-elected President Barack Obama in 2008. Blagojevich is accused of trying to selling or trade the seat, which he called "f---ing golden," for his own personal gain. His testimony could last several days.

Blagojevich was accompanied by his wife, Patti, into court.

A main juror who missed court last week was also out on Tuesday. Judge James Zagel has not said if the woman will return. There are six juror alternates.


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