Federal prosecutors hammered away Tuesday at the allegation that Rod Blagojevich schemed to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, playing an infamous recording of the ousted Illinois governor describing in expletive-laden detail what th
CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors hammered away Tuesday at the allegation that Rod Blagojevich schemed to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, playing an infamous recording of the ousted Illinois governor describing in expletive-laden detail what the seat could be worth to him.
Prosecutors have quickly focused on the Senate seat allegation, the most serious that Blagojevich faces at his political corruption retrial. Early prosecution witnesses have testified that Blagojevich was intent on securing campaign cash, or a Cabinet post or other high-paying, high-powered job in Washington, in exchange for appointing Obama’s preferred pick for the Senate seat.
"I’ve got this thing and it’s f—— golden," he said in a conversation with campaign consultant Doug Scofield, which was recorded by the FBI. "And I’m just not giving it up for f—— nothing. I’m not gonna do it."
The then-governor saw the Senate vacancy as "an opportunity that he could exchange his appointment for something for himself," said Scofield, who also briefly served as deputy governor.
In other recordings, Blagojevich continues his musings about what jobs he should aim for, including secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.N. ambassador and even, he jokes, "ambassador to Macedonia."
Earlier Tuesday, Blagojevich’s attorneys finished their cross-examination of union leader Tom Balanoff, a close Obama ally who met with Blagojevich about the Senate seat in the days before and after the 2008 election.
Blagojevich has denied any wrongdoing. His defense attorneys have maintained that the recorded talk about the Senate seat was just that — talk.
Photo Highlights: President Obama Chicago Farewell Speech
President Barack Obama makes his final farewell speech in his hometown of Chicago. Arriving at O'hare airport on Airforce One Tuesday, early evening was First Lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia and Vice President Joe Biden along with wife, Jill Biden.
Making a final journey as the 44th President of the United States, expressways and local South Side streets were cleared as traffic stood at a complete when the 20-vehicle caravan made its way to Valois Restaurant in Hyde Park. There, President Obama conducted a one-on-one interview with NBC anchorman, Lester Holt before proceeding to give his farewell speech at McCormick Place.
Nearly 20,000 attendees packed the nearly standing-room only space in the East wing of the McCormick Place as VIP attendees sat upfront to hang onto the President's every word. There were various groups that traveled from far and near to be a part of history including celebrity sightings from Sharon Stone to Empire's Jussie Smollett--local and state dignitaries. Opening up the ceremony was a special performance by Hip hop/R&B singer, BJ the Chicago Kid showcasing belting out the national anthem is a smart blue suit.
Once President Obama hit the stage, the electric energy of emotions ran throughout the audience. At times, the crowd's applause was so loud that it impossible to hear him but there were moments that silence rippled throughout the venue--knowing this would be his last time addressing his hometown as Chief of Staff.
In his signature style of class, poise and honor--he addressed the various strides that he and his administration has made over the last eight years in protecting America's democracy. His emotions got the best of him when he addressed his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia who sat in the front row along with Vice President Joe Biden, wife Jill and his mother-in-law--Marian Shields Robinson.
<p class="p1"><span class="s1">“Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.”</span></p>
<p class="p1">After the speech, the Obama family took time out to walk along the barricades, greeting and shaking hands with supporters and friends. The scene was definitely historic and we knew it was the end of an era of class that will not be duplicated in the White House for a very long time.</p>
<p class="p1"><a href="http://www.twitter.com/globalmixx">Follow Mary L. Datcher on Twitter</a></p>
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