Blagojevich: All of us were 'stalking horses'

June 7, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Blagojevich's defense attorneys began a redirect of their client after a break in which Judge James Zagel told Blagojevich that if there are any objections during the redirect, the former governor needed to stop talking.

Ex-gov. Blagojevich less chatty

Blagojevich has been longwinded with his answers since he first took the stand. However, on Tuesday, Blagojevich seemed to be following requests from the judge, prosecutors, and sometimes even his own defense to answer questions with a simple "yes" or "no" where appropriate.

Blagojevich, 54, is accused of trying to sell or trade an appointment to the U.S. Senate for his own personal gain, among other things. He denies any wrongdoing.

Congressman Jesse Jackson Junior was one of the people considered for the appointment. On Tuesday, prosecutor Reid Schar asked Blagojevich if he knew it was illegal for emissaries of Jackson to offer $1.5 million in campaign contributions for appointing Jackson to the seat.

"They were offering me campaign funds for the Senate seat. My brother rejected it three times," Blagojevich said. "I viewed it as illegal."

Blagojevich also considered appointing himself, Valerie Jarrett or Lisa Madigan to the U.S. Senate. Since his testimony began, Blagojevich has said Madigan was his top choice. However, the prosecution alleges she was a "stalking horse."

"All of us were stalking horses... it's a big horserace," Blagojevich said.

Schar also asked Blagojevich about allegations he asked a road executive for campaign cash at the same time a billion-dollar highway program was being announced. Schar walked Blagojevich through the testimony involving Gerald Krozel, who said earlier that he felt pressured by the former governor. In his testimony for the prosecution, Krozel said Blagojevich made it clear the larger program was contingent on the donation.

"You did want Mr. Krozel to help you raise campaign funds?" Schar asked.

"Yes, I did," Blagojevich saidd.

"That was money for your campaign fund, Friends of Blagojevich?"

"Yes, yes," Blagojevich said.

Prosecutors are methodically going through Blagojevich's testimony, trying to discredit the former governor's denials that he did anything wrong.

Tuesday was Schar's third day of questioning Blagojevich.

Defense attorneys said earlier they could call one or two more witnesses after Blagojevich, but have said whom they would call. After the defense is done with its case, prosecutors also could recall some of their witnesses or even call new witnesses in what's called a rebuttal.

Closing arguments would be expected after.

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