Blagojevich attorney calls witness 'rich kid'

May 18, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky cross-examined Lon Monk, a college friend who became a top advisor to the former governor. Monk testified Tuesday that Blagojevich tried to squeeze executives for campaign donations in exchange for state business.

Sorosky asked Monk about his friendship with Blagojevich, to which prosecutors objected, and his family background. He then asked, "Is it fair to say, you were the rich kid from California and (Blagojevich) was the poor kid from the Northwest Side of Chicago?"

Prosecutors objected to that as well. The judge sustained both objections.

Monk admitted to receiving at least $70,000 from a political fundraiser in 2004. In 2005, Monk resigned as Blagojevich's chief of staff and became campaign manager for the reelection campaign. "Once again, you got that job because Rod trusted you and were his friend," Sorosky said. After that, Monk became a lobbyist.

Sorosky is challenging Monk's reliability as a witness, focusing on lies Monk admits he told Blagojevich and the FBI.

Blagojevich, 54, faces 20 charges in this scaled-down corruption re-trial. Last year, he was found guilty on one of 24 counts and the jury was hung on all others.

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