FBI tapes played at impeachment trial

Agent verifies accuracy of Blago quotes
January 27, 2009 8:26:49 PM PST
The Illinois Senate heard the recorded voice of Ill. Governor Rod Blagojevich Tuesday during the second day of his impeachment trial. The Audio Records:
  • Listen to the audio recording of intercepted communications
  • Transcript Tape 1
  • Transcript Tape 2
  • Transcript Tape 3
  • Transcript Tape 4
  • Some of the governor's wiretapped phone conversations were played on Tuesday. Governor Blagojevich is heard, allegedly pressuring people for campaign donations on the tapes Earlier in the trial, an FBI agent testified about the wiretaps that led to the governor's arrest last month.

    Daniel Cain, a veteran FBI agent, testified with the authorization of the U.S. Attorney. But what he could say to the tribunal was limited to information already in the public record.

    Still, it's important to the senators that they see not just a written criminal complaint but the FBI agent who will verify the authenticity of the secret tape recordings of Blagojevich. Cain complained after being asked that the governor's voice is certainly recognizable, but agents reviewed the tapes repeatedly to make sure they knew it was the governor doing the talking.

    "We placed the bugs in the campaign office, in his campaign office and tapped his telephone where we knew he had conversations. We would listen to those telephone conversations and times he would self-identify," Cain said. "Also there were various other methods used to identify the governor. But in the end, we were very confident it was the governor's voice in those conversations."

    The state Senate heard four secretly recorded phone conversations involving the governor in his alleged effort to secure a big campaign contribution from a racetrack owner benefiting the Illinois horse racing industry. The U.S. Attorney's office is allowing those select four tapes to be played before the impeachment tribunal. The other tapes are reserved for the criminal case.

    Cain was asked, as he walked through this entire criminal complaint against the governor, to say whether or not each of the tape recordings are widely known to be true and accurate, and he's saying to each one, yes.

    While they tapes are not as explosive as what's purported to be on the other secret recordings, the governor's critics say it's pay-to-play at its worst.

    "It was just nauseating to me and it's sad and sobering and makes me sort of sick to my stomach," said Sen. Dan Cronin, (R) Elmhurst.

    The tapes most damning to the governor will be held for the criminal case but cain's authentication of them for the tribunal is very important.

    " They show a credible piece of evidence that's unrebutted," said Sen. William Haine, (D) Alton.

    "It would be in the governor's best interest if he would come to Springfield and defend himself. I don't know of any impeachment trial in history where the one who was accused didn't show up," said Sen. John Cullerton, (D) Illinois Senate president.

    Cain testified under oath Tuesday that the quotes released when Blagojevich was arrested were actually what the governor said. Those quotes include Blagojevich saying President Barack Obama's vacant seat was valuable and wouldn't be given away for nothing.

    House prosecutor David Ellis walked Cain through each quote filed as part of the criminal charges against Blagojevich, and Cain confirmed that each part of the affidavit was accurate.

    The governor has denied any wrongdoing.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.