As the Rod Blagojevich trial wears on, defense attorneys are attempting to tie the shady dealings that took place during the former Illinois governor’s tenure to donations made to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
Yesterday, Blago lawyer Michael Gillespie questioned Joseph Aramanda, a business associate of Tony Rezko, about whether he made a $10,000 donation on Rezko’s behalf to the Obama campaign. Rezko, a former Blago fundraiser, is currently serving time on corruption charges related to money transfers made during Blago’s tenure.
Aramanda said he had made the donation and “inferred” that he “wanted it back” from Rezko.
As Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune points out, Blago’s defense is trying to connect Blagojevich to Obama, “lessening the blow of his own ties to Rezko and his various plans to move money around and influence politicians.”
But Blago’s apparently got his own strategy: Publicly criticize those who testify against him.
After his former Chief of Staff Lon Monk testified about Blago’s aspirations for higher office, among other things, Blago said in a press conference that he imagines Monk’s parents feel “shame” about the testimony, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Though the judge called Blago’s remarks a “backhanded plea for sympathy,” he declined the prosecution’s request to impose a “gag” order on Blago and this attorneys.