Finally, testimony in the trial of the former Illinois Governor has finally gotten down to the allegation that caused the world to learn how to pronounce Blagojevich: That he tried to sell President Barack Obama's "F-ing Golden," recently vacated Senate seat. It's happening in Blago's own words.
The former governor again took a stab at a joke when he said that he had never picked a Senator before, "I never want to again." He also admitted he wanted to get something in exchange for the appointment, "A horse trade...legal, always interested in a legal horse trade," he testified.
Blagojevich said he wanted President Obama to call him and express interest in appointing Valarie Jarrett to the Senate. He seemed to indicate that would have opened the door for Blagojevich to angle for a position in Health and Human Services Department.
Blagojevich also said he was considering appointing the Illinois Attorney general Lisa Madigan, because she is the daughter of the powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan. Blagojevich thought that might smooth the strained relation between the two.
He was consistent with the FBI wiretaps when he said he did not want to appoint Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to the Senate. However, on the stand he was considerably more gentle and less vulgar saying, "There were some qualities in him that I didn't think were that great."
It may be painfully obvious to mention that the former Governor's gift of gab became an issue, but it was part of the testimony, so it bears mention here. "It's fair to say I talk a lot," Blagojevich admitted in court.
His own defense attorney, Aaron Goldstein, frequently cuts him off in the middle of answers, and prosecutors objected during his testimony more than 40 times Tuesday.
Judge James Zagel instructed him at one point to "just answer the questions." However it seems Judge Zagel made an effort to seem less than adversarial when getting him to cut back on the long and winding explanations, "I have the same bad habit," said Zagel.
A sheepish Blagojevich responded with an attempt at getting a laugh, "Can I say great minds think alike?"
In sharp contrast to most of his answers, Blagojevich broke it down to one word when he was countering testimony already heard in court. Goldstien asked him, from several different angles, if he tried to squeeze money from Gerry Krozel, the politically connected road contractor. A flat "no" was the response every time.
The same thing happened when Goldstein asked if he had tried to shake down the CEO of Children's Memorial Hospital, Patrick Magoon, in exchange for state money. The answer was also a flat denial every time, "No."
Those answers counter the testimony of Krozel, who said the former governor seemed to make a toll way expansion deal contingent on getting $500,000 in campaign money. His answers also counter the testimony of Magoon, who said he felt wrongly pressured by Blagojevich. The best known defendant from the Land of Lincoln will be back on the stand Wednesday.