Blagojevich attorneys ask for interviews of Barack Obama

April 4, 2011

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(WBEZ file/Sam Hudzik)

Attorneys for Rod Blagojevich are asking for access to any interviews between President Barack Obama and the FBI.

In a Monday morning filing, Blagojevich's attorneys say they want any notes or summaries of interviews with Mr. Obama related to the ex-governor's corruption case. They say they need to the interviews to properly cross-examine potential witness Tom Balanoff, a top labor official.

He testified for prosecutors in Blagojevich's first trial, saying he acted as a liason between Blagojevich and Mr. Obama's inner circle, talking about who could fill Illinois' vacant U.S. Senate seat.

Blagojevich's attorneys tried to subpoena the president before the first trial, but the judge denied that request.

Blagojevich is accused of trying to personally profit by using the governor's power to appoint a senator after Mr. Obama won the presidency. Blagojevich's re-trial is scheduled to begin April 20th.

During the first trial, prosecutors played a secretly taped phone conversation between Blagojevich and Balanoff about Senate candidates, including Mr. Obama's friend and advisor Valerie Jarrett.

Then the governor wonders aloud if Mr. Obama donors would give millions to start a health care advocacy group Blagojevich could work for.

"Yeah and then we can help our new senator, Valerie Jarrett, go out and push that," Blagojevich said.

"So let me...[let's] move this idea and...let me put that flag up and see where it goes," Balanoff responded.

Balanoff testified that he never had any intention of looking into Blagojevich's idea. On cross examination, Balanoff acknowledged Blagojevich never explicitly said he'd appoint Jarrett in exchange for personal benefits or favors.