Blago jurors hear 'f---ing golden' tape

June 29, 2010 (CHICAGO) In the conversation between Blagojevich and one of his advisors the day after the election, the former governor said, "I mean I got this thing and it is f---ing golden. And, I'm not giving it up for f---ing nothing. I can always use it and parachute me in there."

Doug Scofield on the stand Tuesday said Blagojevich was talking about his ability to make a Senate appointment.

The tape, which is part of an FBI investigation from 2008, was in part played in court Tuesday. It will not be released to the public until it is officially entered into evidence in Blagojevich's corruption trial.

While that tape has not yet been publicly released, other tapes, including a November 12th conversation that Blagojevich has with his wife, were made public Tuesday. The former governor and his wife are discussing four possible Senate candidates the White House seems to like. "So what do you get from that then? So you're not getting anything for this, ah, appointment. So you're free to cut your own deal," said Patti Blagojevich on the tape.

Blagojevich, 53, pleaded not guilty to the charges and has maintained his innocence.

"For the past six days, the government has played tapes they have chosen to play. As I said all along for the past year and a half, those tapes show that I have not committed any crimes," said Blagojevich after the court appearance Tuesday.

"When my lawyers attempted to play a tape that will begin the process of actually exonerating me, the government objected to them playing the tapes. But thank goodness the judged saved me, stepped in, and made it clear when I testify, which I will --and I can't wait to testify, to set the record straight and clarify some of the conversations and tell the people of Illinois exactly what was on my mind and what I was trying to do and what I ultimately attempted to do-- I know when I testify, as the judge has said, he'll allow the tapes to be played. Again, I want to acknowledge the relief that I have that the judge saved me by doing what he did today."

Blagojevich then left the courthouse. When called to testify, he is expected to be on the stand for many days. That is when the tapes to which he is referring will be played.

Union leader: Blagojevich wanted Cabinet post

Blagojevich wanted a Cabinet post with President Barack Obama, according to a union leader. Tom Balanoff, the president of SEIU Local 1, testified Tuesday that in 2008, after he told Blagojevich that Obama was interested in seeing Valerie Jarrett take over the U.S. Senate seat, Blagojevich suggested he be named secretary of health and human services.

"You know, Tom, I love being governor, but my real passion is health care, and if I could be secretary of health and human services, I could carry out my passion," Blagojevich said, according to Balanoff.

"That's not going to happen," Balanoff replied. Blagojevich, he said, responded by saying, "Is that because all the investigations around me?"

Balanoff testified that Obama told him he was not going to publically support anyone, but he thought Jarrett was qualified, good for Illinois and electable. Balanoff took that information to Blagojevich, who, according to Balanoff, seemed to be trying to trade the spot for another.

Balanoff testified Blagojevich pitched the idea of setting up a nonprofit group to advocate health care causes. On secretly recorded FBI tapes, Blagojevich is heard saying, "So then we could help our new Senator Valerie Jarrett push that."

The defense argued that Blagojevich was lukewarm to Jarrett because he wanted to name political foe Lisa Madigan to the seat. In a tape, the jury has not yet heard, Blagojevich said, "It's repugnant to me personally to do something like that. I want, I want a public works program. I want health care here. And I don't' want raising taxes on people. They, you know, they do that. I'll hold my nose and do it."

While the defense argues that the Madigan deal was at the heart of all of this, Blagojevich's former chief of staff John Harris said appointing Madigan was just a "stalking horse" and was not being seriously considered. Harris testified that Blagojevich was using the supposed deal as "political cover" that would make him look less self-serving if he appointed himself to the Senate seat.

Blagojevich has long said that he wanted to appoint Madigan to the seat in a deal under which the elder Madigan would push through legislation on health care, public works and no new taxes. Harris said the package the governor spoke of also included an agreement there would be no effort to impeach him.

Harris said he never considered the Madigan deal realistic, especially if it contained such "poison pills" as the no-new-taxes and no-impeachment provisions.

Later, Balanoff said he called to confirm Jarrett had accepted a position at the White House, but when Jarrett didn't answer he called Alexi Giannoulias.

"I told Alexi I heard Val isn't interested in the Senate. He confirmed she had taken a position in the White House," said Balanoff. "I told Alexi, 'If the governor called in the next hour or so and offered it to her, would she take it?' Alexi said 'no.'"

Balanoff said Giannoulias told him he thought it was a shame Blagojevich didn't appoint Jarrett, but thought maybe he'd then get the appointment.

When Balanoff mentioned Giannoulias' interest to Blagojevich, the former governor said, "That motherf---er I wouldn't do s--t for him. Every chance he got he took a shot at me."

Also on Tuesday, Scofield testified that Blagojevich was jealous and frustrated by Obama's success. He also said he was uncomfortable with the level of involvement Tony Rezko and Christ Kelly had in the administration.

Blagojevich, 53, has pleaded not guilty to corruption charges, including trying to sell or trade the Senate seat.

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