Blagojevich betrayed by friends

May 16, 2011

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(WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his wife Patti at court.

An old friend from Rod Blagojevich's early political career will be on the stand Monday in the former governor's retrial.  John Wyma was chief of staff when Blagojevich served as a congressman and stayed on as a consultant and fundraiser through Blagojevich's time as governor.  He parlayed his relationship with Blagojevich into a very lucrative career as a lobbyist.  Clients paid him thousands of dollars a month because he could get meetings with the governor or his staff.

Prosecutors subpoenaed Wyma about some of his business dealings, and in 2008 he provided information that allowed prosecutors to start recording the govenor's phone calls.  Blagojevich talked about Wyma outside court last Thursday after Wyma started his testimony.  Blagojevich seemed unusually thoughtful. 

"John Wyma was someone that I thought was a close and good friend and to see him lie like he's lying, understanding that he's doing it because he's being compelled to do it because he may have done some things wrong, and he's afraid that he's going to get prosecuted, doesn't take away the sense of sadness that you feel because this guy was once someone that you thought was a good friend," he said.,

Wyma is testifying with a grant of immunity from prosecutors, meaning he can't be prosecuted for any crimes he committed related to this case, provided he tells the truth.  He's testifying about conversations he had with Rahm Emanuel about Barack Obama's senate seat just after the 2008 presidential election.