Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s defense in his corruption trial will begin Monday, after the prosecution wrapped up their case this week more than a month ahead of schedule.
Blago’s lawyers may have a tough time winning over the jurors, who have heard weeks of the infamous wiretappings (“fucking golden,” anyone?) and Blago’s delusions of grandeur. According to the Chicago Tribune, Blago’s top lawyer told the judge this week that he won’t dispute many of the charges; instead, he’s trying to prove that Blagojevich “had no criminal intent in the things that he said and the things that he did.” He’s painting him, as he did in his opening statement, as a naive man who trusted the wrong people. The defense has also argued that Blago got bad legal advice.
Blago’s lawyers will also play portions of recorded phone calls that they think will help Blago. In one, the former governor discusses how he helped a children’s hospital, and says he asked his aide if he could get a campaign contribution for them.
“One is not for the other,” Blago says on the recording, according to the Tribune.
The accusations that Blago shook down a children’s hospital — allegedly asking for campaign contributions in exchange for giving the hospital more state money — are at the heart of the prosecution’s case.
The prosecutor’s last witness was the CEO of Children’s Memorial Hospital, Patrick Magoon. Magoon testified that Blago’s brother Rob called him asking for a big donation just a few days after Blago promised a $10 million grant for the hospital.
“I felt threatened, I felt at risk and I felt a little angry,” he said, according to the Chicago Sun. “I felt the commitment could be rescinded.”
In their cross-examination, defense lawyers tried to prove that their was no explicit quid pro quo. Blago’s lead lawyer, Sam Adam Jr., asked Magoon whether he had asked the governor if “really meant one for the other.” According to the Sun, Magoon said he hadn’t.