Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jurors Hear Blagojevich Hurl F-bombs at Obama, His Job, the Media

BY NATASHA KORECKI AND LARK TURNER Chicago Sun-Times May 10, 2011 11:47PM

It’s been played before. But if there’s one recording that has lasting shock value, even to veterans of the Rod Blagojevich trial, it’s the one prosecutors played on Tuesday.
An irate ex-Illinois governor is heard unleashing a series of f-bombs, aimed at the “nasty, f------, s-----, f------” media, his “f------ job as governor,” and “f------ gridlock” in Springfield.
President-Elect Obama isn’t spared.
“I mean you guys are telling me I just gotta suck it up for two years and do nothing. Give this mother f----- his senator. F--- him. For nothing? F--- him!” Blagojevich bellyaches.
Blagojevich complains Obama wouldn’t offer him anything in return for appointing Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat and says everyone’s passing him up politically while he’s stuck in Springfield with gridlock and making no money.
Blagojevich’s tirade happens in a Nov. 10, 2008 call with his advisers and his wife, Patti. He tells them he can’t just give away the Senate seat appointment.
“I feel like I’m f------ my children,” Blagojevich is heard saying as wide-eyed jurors listened to the recording.
Just after that call, the next witness, IRS agent Shari Schindler, talked about how the Blagojevich household spent all its money, according to her analysis.
From 2002-2008, the top ranking expenditure was on fine clothing. The total — some $400,000.
Last summer’s jury heard many more details, including shopping exploits at Saks Fifth Avenue, about specific receipts, the cost of socks and ties, and about the ex-governor’s penchant for fancy, tailor-made suits. Judge James Zagel had warned prosecutors to trim the “beads and bangles” from the section of the case.
Meanwhile, political consultant Doug Scofield was heard on tape at times encouraging Blagojevich to try to get something in exchange for appointing Jarrett. Scofield, who was not charged in the case, said he passed a message along to Obama’s camp in mid-November that Blagojevich would like a foundation set up for him in exchange for appointing Jarrett.
In a recorded call, Scofield reported to Blagojevich that he passed a message to John Wyma, a friend of Rahm Emanuel, that the then-governor would still consider Jarrett if someone was able to pump millions of dollars into a foundation that Blagojevich could then head. Wyma at the time was cooperating with federal investigators.
Scofield said the message was intended for Wyma to pass to Emanuel. Scofield gives Blagojevich advice on how to handle the Senate seat appointment.
“I think you should leverage it to what’s most helpful to you,” Scofield tells Blagojevich at one point.
Blagojevich asks Scofield if he agrees with that.
“I do.”
The defense attempted to use the testimony to underscore its premise that the discussions were nothing more than political horse-trading, and something everyone engaged in.
But the next witness was a state worker who testified that Blagojevich took an ethics test every year he was in office – a test that spelled out that trading benefits for official action was illegal.
After court, Blagojevich explained the recordings this way: “In one tape that was played today, which says it all, where I’m talking to Doug Scofield and I say to him, whatever we do, it’s gotta be legal, obviously. That says it all.”
Minutes earlier, a sign was posted by the mic where Blagojevich spoke. It read: “this room reserved for the s-----, f------, press.”

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