Blago tears up as defense wraps its case

June 9, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The prosecution made its final rebuttal argument late Thursday afternoon. It is unlikely the jury will begin deliberations Thursday.

It was a predictable but passionate closing argument from the defense lead attorney, "Listen to all the tapes," said Aaron Goldstein, "Look at the facts and then you will find that Rod Blagojevich is not guilty."

At the conclusion of Goldstein's remarks, Patti Blagojevich, who has been on hand for every day of her husband's trial save for one, began to cry and the former governor's eyes began to tear up a bit as well.

Soon the Blagojevich's will begin their wait.

Apart from his own explanation of what he said on the government tapes, Rod Blagojevich's defense has been that he talks a lot -- and that that's all it is -- talk, and his talk was not accompanied by any intent or actions.

Echoing the defense close from the first trial, Blagojevich attorney Aaron Goldstein, his voice rising, said, "He didn't get a dime, a nickel, a penny, a campaign contribution. He got nothing! ... They want you to believe his talk is a crime. It's not."

The defense tried to discredit many of the government witnesses, saying they're testifying against Blagojevich to save their own hides, protected by immunity or plea agreements.

But Rod has nothing to hide. "He testified. That's something he didn't have to do. That's a walk that took courage. And he told you the truth."

All of his actions show, Goldstein said, that nothing wrong was going on. "What happened was nothing. Nothing. Nothing."

But the prosecution in a tightly woven presentation kept returning to its theme that Blagojevich was trying to get things of personal benefit through official action.

"He is detailed, serious, focused. He is sophisticated, even desperate," said prosecutor Carrie Hamilton. "This man is trying to get things for himself."

Then Hamilton chose to play a single tape which she says captures what was in Blagojevich's head after being told that his Senate selection would yield only appreciation from the new president.

Hamilton turned to the jury and said, "That is his response to the President-elect of the United States. You want something from me. For nothing!"

The prosecution then posted on a large screen Rod Blagojevich's written statement after the conviction of former Governor George Ryan in which Blagojevich wrote, "Today's verdict proves no one is above the law and government exists for the good of the people and not the other way around." At that point, U.S. Assistant Attorney Reid Schar turned to the jury and said, "Hold him to those words, the people come first, no one is above the law."

The jury will soon get the case and begin their deliberations, most probably Friday.

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