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|Opening Statements In Blago Trial
|It took the state exactly an hour to lay out its case against ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich who's accused of shaking people down for campaign contributions.
"On the north side of Chicago there is a hospital called Children's Memorial Hospital," began federal prosecutor Carrie Hamilton as she laid out the alleged scheme by Blagojevich to hold up state dollars from the hospital hoping for a $25,000 campaign contribution first.
The theme used throughout opening statements by the prosecution was "what about me?"
"When he should've been asking, what about the people of Illinois, he was asking what about me," Hamilton said as she talked about "a series of shakedowns" that allegedly took place since Blagojevich was elected to office.
The message was clear, Hamilton said. "Pay up or no state action."
Hamilton told the jury they would hear from former Blagojevich chief of staffs Lon Monk and John Harris as well as the president of Children's Memorial and others allegedly shook down for political donations.
Meanwhile, Sam Adam Jr. gave the opening statements for the defense. The colorful attorney drew some laughs as he explained that the governor trusted the wrong people.
"This case today is the governor's fault," Adam said. "I'm being honest...he trusted the wrong person."
Adam was referring to political fixer Tony Rezko and Blagojevich's former chief of staff Lon Monk. Both Rezko and Monk's name came up several times as did fundraiser Stewart Levine.
Adam told jurors he wanted them to "follow the money" and it will show that Blagojevich never did anything illegal, but rather it was Rezko and Levine, something Adam says Blagojevich was never made aware of.
"[Blagojevich] didn't rob us," Adam said to the jury, the intensity of his voice increasing. "What happened here ladies and gentleman is he was fooled."
The prosecution began presenting its case Wednesday.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|06 09 10 by Newsroom
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