Prosecution rests in Blagojevich retrial

May 19, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Blagojevich, 54, faces 20 counts. Last year, he was found guilty of one count- lying to the FBI- and the jury was hung on 23 others.

In the retrial, prosecutors slimmed down the case, which has sped up this second trial. After just three weeks of testimony, the government wrapped up. The defense will present its case starting on Monday.

Judge James Zagel told jurors to stay away from reading or watching anything pertaining to the case.

Attorneys then approached Judge Zagel's bench. Defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky said their case will take about three days. He did not say if the former governor will take the stand, but did say he had scheduling concerns because some witnesses are "people of some prominence."

As of Thursday morning, Sorosky said the team had not made up its mind on whether or not to call Blagojevich nor come up with a witness list. He said, "Assuming the government ends their case today, which I suspect they will, we're gonna have to make some big decisions this weekend as to how we present the defense."

During Thursday's testimony, Dr. Donald Feinstein, with the Academy for Urban School Leadership, discussed a $2-million state grant for the school that then-Congressman Rahm Emanuel helped him secure in 2005.

Bradley Tusk, a witness who followed Dr. Feinstein, testified for the prosecution that was his understanding that Blagojevich was withholding that money unless Emanuel would agree to hold a Los Angeles fundraiser for Blagojevich with Emanuel's brother, a high-powered Hollywood agent. Tusk was deputy governor to Blagojevich at that time.

Tusk was followed by Doug Scofield.

Blagojevich's attorneys argued on cross-examination that the grant process was simply delayed, and that there were budget concerns -- nothing more.

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