Blagojevich Trial to Include More of Ex-Governor's Testimony
R.E. Christian

May 26, 2011, 10:01

Disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was expected to testify at his corruption retrial in Chicago Thursday, the Chicago Tribune said.

Blagojevich, who was convicted of one count of lying to FBI agents at his first trial last year, faces a daunting task of convincing jurors of his innocence of pay-to-play politics and trying to negotiate a political deal to sell the U.S. Senate seat once occupied by President Obama.

New Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama's former White House Chief of Staff, appeared on the stand for 3 minutes Wednesday and denied any personal knowledge of an alleged shakedown attempt by Blagojevich to sell the Senate appointment for campaign contributions or a lucrative job.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., testified he never offered $1.5 million in campaign cash from supporters for the Senate appointment after Obama was elected president in 2008. However, Jackson damaged Blagojevich when he said he had refused to endorse Blagojevich or give him a requested $25,000 donation during the 2002 Democratic primary, the Tribune said.

Jackson said a year later when he sought to have his wife, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, appointed as head of the Illinois State Lottery, Blagojevich -- imitating Elvis Presley -- told him, "You should have given me that $25,000."

Blagojevich called Jackson's story "absurd" and said it was made up.

"It's not true," he told reporters at the federal courthouse. "It didn't happen."

Source: UPI

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