Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Blago Show: Obama Senate Seat Scheme Trial Opener

Prosecutors zero in on 5 shakedown schemes, starting with the most stunning one:

More importantly, Harris helped prosecutors sharpen their focus on the Senate seat charges in their slimmed down case, introducing Blagojevich’s new jury to how the former governor viewed his power to appoint Barack Obama’s replacement.

“I’m the governor of a $58 billion corporation, why can’t I be ambassador to India?” Blagojevich is heard asking Harris in a taped call.

In a Nov. 2008 call, Blagojevich goes down a wish list of jobs he hoped to land if he appointed Valerie Jarrett — then-President-elect Obama’s chosen candidate — to the U.S. Senate seat. He ticks off potential appointments, such as ambassador to South Africa, Commerce Secretary, and U.N. Ambassador, then asks if he’d have to wear a uniform if Obama helped him land the head spot at the Salvation Army.

“What other Cabinet position would be, not stupid?” Blagojevich asks Harris.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations?

“Ridiculous?” Blagojevich asks. “S---, that’d be cool.”

The conversations were played after Harris testified that Blagojevich’s legal adviser, Bill Quinlan, warned the then-governor never to bring up the Senate seat and a possible benefit in the same sentence.

“You can’t talk about this. You can’t even joke about this,” Harris said Quinlan warned Blagojevich.

That testimony runs against Blagojevich’s contention that he acted in accordance with directives from his advisers.

But will the perennial Blago buffoonery dull the impact of the charges?
Blagojevich then asked Harris to do the homework on what kind of charity he could ask the Obama administration to infuse with cash and then head up for a big paycheck. The two fell into a discussion about which of them was least competent to look up things on the Internet.

"So you're saying you don't know how to do it, 'cause I wouldn't know either," said Blagojevich. "Right," Harris said. "I don't know how to do it."
The Blago team response is referred to as the Seinfeld defense.

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