JULY 02, 2010
Rod Blagojevich’s crude tirades continued to resonate in the Chicago federal courtroom where he is being tried for dozens of crimes in connection with his scheme to sell President Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat.
The disgraced ex governor cusses repeatedly as he discusses ways to make money in secret FBI recordings played for the jury on the last day of trial before the long Fourth of July holiday weekend. The F word seems to be his favorite and he routinely uses it to describe Obama, who he refers to as a “motherf_ _ _er”.
“I don’t want to be governor two more years,” Blagojevich says on the tape. “I gotta get moving. The whole world is passing me by and I’m stuck in this f_ _ _ing job.” In the segment Blagojevich, in the middle of his second term, is furious because he believes the president won’t give him the appropriate bribe–a cabinet job or foreign ambassadorship–for the Senate appointment.
Blagojevich has been charged with 24 felonies, including multiple counts of bribery, extortion and conspiracy for trying to sell the Illinois Senate seat vacated when Obama became president. Court testimony indicates that the president and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, were deeply involved in negotiations over the appointment with the crooked governor who for years has been under federal investigation for selling the influence of his office.
Blagojevich’s top aide, John Harris, has testified that Obama gave the governor a list of “acceptable” candidates to fill his old post. He also testified that, later in the negotiation process, Blagojevich asked him to call Emanuel to confirm that Obama was “still in agreement” with Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. getting the Senate appointment.
A Chicago union leader with deep ties to Obama later testified that the president called him to convince Blagojevich to appoint his longtime confidante, Valerie Jarrett, who was interested in being Senator early on. She ended up taking a White House job to remain close to Obama.
On Thursday jurors also heard about Blagojevich’s expensive taste in ties ($200 to $300 each) as well his ethics training. An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent testified that Blagojevich spent $400,000 on ties, suits and underwear and the director of the state agency that investigates misconduct among public officials testified that the ex governor, like all public employees, received years of ethics training relating to issues such as bribery and conflict of interest.
A key defense tactic has been to portray Blagojevich as a victim of bad advisors who should have intercepted any unscrupulous behavior. The theory is difficult to swallow for those who hear Blagojevich, who has a law degree, confidently planning his corrupt schemes to make money and avoid an eminent impeachment by the Illinois legislature.
Incredibly, he still has many supporters who rally behind him daily as he faces justice. Blagojevich makes it a point to acknowledge them as they stand in a long line for a rare opportunity to watch the trial live. There are only 32 seats available to the public and each day a large crowd waits outside the courtroom in a single file.
Blagojevich strolls down the line, shaking everyone’s hand like a politician in the middle of a campaign. He repeatedly thanks dozens of onlookers and says “we’re going to make history here.” One middle-aged woman holds on to Blagojevich’s hand for an extra few seconds and subsequently crowns him as “the most charming….” Minutes later that same woman heard the governor’s not-so-charming vulgar tirade inside the courtroom.
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