Blagojevich conviction helping him on the stand

May 28, 2011

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich with his wife Patti. (Wildeboer)

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's conviction from his first trial is actually helping him as he testifies in his retrial.  He was convicted of lying to the FBI.  He had told investigators interviewing him that he didn't track who gave him contributions but several of his former staff members testified convincingly that no one knew the details of the campaign contributions better than the governor himself.  Hence the jury convicted him.

With that charge no longer part of the case, Blagojevich can admit he knew his fundraising operation inside and out and he can use that knowledge to defend himself.  On the stand he testified that one contribution predated by a year a piece of legislation that would benefit the contributor.  He says that kind of distance in time proves he wasn't linking the contribution to the state action.

He is also telling jurors that some of his alleged victims were long-time big dollar contributors and that's why he asked them for donations.  He says he wasn't targeting them because of particular legislation coming across his desk.