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|Campaign Money Again Dominates Blago Trial
|The prosecution in the political corruption trial of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich questioned a handful of witnesses Tuesday, including one who believes a state contract was directly linked to a campaign contribution.
On the stand, a former executive of a major construction material supplier testified about a meeting with Blagojevich where talk turned from a tollway construction project to campaign contribution deadlines.
Gerry Krozel, an executive with Prairie Materials, a representative to road builders and former head of the Illinois Paving Association believed talk of the deadline indicated that the road project and campaign cash were linked.
"Talk of the tollway and the request for money was very coincidental," testified Krozel who is under a grant of immunity.
At one point, Krozel told jurors that Blagojevich asked him if he could hold a fundraiser before the end of the year, when ethics reforms would go into effect, limiting the amount of money Blagojevich could bring in from companies that did business with the state.
"I understood that a fundraiser would probably determine the validity of the project," Krozel said. "The monies that I could possibly raise for him would have a bearing on the project."
Meanwhile, a former campaign finance manager for Friends of Blagojevich, the ex-governors campaign fundraising arm, testified that Blagojevich sat in on fundraising meetings and had direct knowledge of supporters who opened their pocketbooks more often than others.
Danielle Stilz's testimony contradicts statements Blagojevich made to an FBI agent in 2005 where he claimed he kept a "firewall" between fundraising and his actions as governor. Stilz left the campaign in 2007 because Blagojevich's fundraising goals were "unrealistic."
Krozel remains on the stand Wednesday and it's expected that the prosecution will soon call supporters of Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Chicago) to testify about allegedly offering to raise campaign contributions in exchange for seeing Jackson appointed U.S. Senator.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|07 07 10 by Newsroom
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