MAY 31, 2011
Chicago—The most explosive charges—trying to sell Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat—against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich were finally addressed on his third day of testimony in his corruption retrial.How exciting was it? Several of the spectators who waited in line to get a coveted seat in the courtroom dozed off during the exhausting testimony and more than a couple of jurors appeared a bit distracted. One female juror in the front row played with her hair and another bit her nails, fidgeted in her seat and repeatedly glanced around the courtroom.Who could blame them? Blagojevich, who testified that he talks “a lot,” lived up to the reputation by rambling on and interjecting commentary when answering his defense attorney’s softball questions. The judge was not amused and repeatedly directed Blagojevich, who is charged with 20 felonies, to provide precise answers amid countless objections from visibly irritated federal prosecutors.The impeached two-term governor, who boasts that he’s won every political office he’s run for (the Illinois House and the U.S. House as well), laid it on thick in an obvious effort to win the jury over. He spoke of his immigrant background, efforts to kill legislation that would raise taxes and accomplishments in creating a healthcare program for kids.Blagojevich said he really wanted to replace the only African American in the U.S. Senate with another African American, though he also considered appointing himself. However, he testified that naming himself senator was “never something I felt deep down comfortable with.”Candidates under serious consideration included an Illinois congressman (Danny Davis) who “loves poor people” and an “African American war hero.” Blagojevich testified that the African American war hero idea was “thinking outside the box.” Blagojevich takes the stand again Wednesday and is expected to get cross examined by prosecutors by the end of the week.
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