Blagojevich lawyers say he had terrible advisors

May 5, 2011

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Jurors in the retrial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich are hearing that he was surrounded by some really bad advisors.

One of the prosecution's star witnesses is John Harris.  He was Blagojevich's chief of staff just before the governor was arrested.  He encouraged Blagojevich to try to get something valuable from then President-elect Barack Obama in return for appointing whoever Obama wanted to his vacated senate seat.  In a secretly recorded phone call, Harris talks to another advisor, Fred Yang, about some possibilities. 

"We kicked around ideas like ambassadorships and we concluded that may be okay for feeding the family for a while but politically not many ambassador appointments keep you politically viable," said Harris.

Blagojevich's defense attorneys will likely argue that the governor relied on advisors like Harris, a lawyer, to keep him within the bounds of the law.  Harris pleaded guilty in the case shortly after he was arrested along with the governor in December of 2008.