OFFER OF $6 MILLION MADE FOR JESSE JACKSON, JR. AS U.S. SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS!!!
Offer of $6 million made for Jackson as senator
July 20, 2010
BY PHIL KADNER
No way, no how was Gov. Rod Blagojevich ever going to appoint U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to Barack Obama's old Senate seat.
That's what Robert Blagojevich, the brother of the former governor, said over and over again as the defense opened its case Monday in the federal corruption trial of the Blagojevich brothers.
What did Robert think of Jackson?
"He's a f....ing articulate incompetent," he says on a federal wiretap.
Even when businessmen in the Indian community came to him with a generous offer of campaign contributions if his brother would appoint Jackson, Robert Blagojevich said he didn't take it seriously. He knew his brother resented Jackson because the congressman had promised to endorse him during his first run for governor and never did.
According to Robert Blagojevich, Raghu Nayak, the Indian-American businessman and friend of the Jackson family, offered $1 million in cash by the end of 2008 and another $5 million after the governor appointed Jackson to the Senate seat.
Questioned by his attorney, Michael Ettinger, Robert said it was clear from the day he signed on as the fundraiser for "Friends of Blagojevich" that there would be no promises made of government action in exchange for campaign contributions. He insisted that his brother was true to that pledge.
Robert Blagojevich had been a successful businessman in Nashville and Florida for most of his adult life, after leaving his boyhood home in Chicago. He said he called his brother only once or twice a month and saw him only once or twice a year after their mother died.
They were joined at the hip during their formative years, Robert testified, but after he went to college in Tampa and his brother went to law school, their lives went separate ways.
Julie Blagojevich, Robert's wife, was the first to take the stand on Monday, testifying that she had a role in influencing her husband to take the job as the governor's chief fundraiser in August 2008. She said she reminded Robert of his promise to his mother to look out for his brother after she was gone.
Robert would later testify that he too remembered such a pledge to the Blagojevich parents. They had always said that after they were gone, the brothers would have only each other to rely on and had to be there if one needed the other, Robert said.
The Brothers Blagojevich are the great American success story and the great American tragedy.
Their parents came from the former Yugoslavia with nothing. Mom ended up getting a job working for the Chicago Transit Authority while Dad was a steelworker, among other jobs.
Robert went on to head up a major trust and financial arm for a national bank, after serving in the U.S. Army where he commanded a Pershing missile platoon. Rod, of course, became a state legislator, congressman and governor of Illinois.
Now, both are on trial in a federal courtroom together.
I couldn't help wondering what their parents would have thought. I looked for some trace of remorse in the faces of the Blagojevich brothers as Robert spoke of their parents. I didn't see any.
Back to the offer of campaign cash for the appointment of Jesse Jackson Jr. to the Senate.
For hours, Robert Blagojevich tried to convince the jury that he was kept in the dark about the behind-the-scenes politics.
He said he made no offers of anything in return for contributions to "Friends of Blagojevich." If deals were being cut, he was unaware of them.
And then Ettinger had him go through a crucial conversation with his brother that occurred over the phone while Robert was at a Starbucks with his wife.
It was one of the few times the couple had gone out together, and Robert explained he was quite irritated that his brother was bothering him with political talk.
"Right," Robert said over and over again.
But then the governor says he may appoint Jackson to the Senate seat after all, to stick it to the folks in Washington, D.C., who have been sticking it to him. He tells his brother to talk to the people who offered money for the Jackson appointment.
They key word is "if" he appoints Jackson, Robert said, what would they be willing to do. Robert says he will phone them.
The governor says not to use the phone when doing so. The whole world may be listening, he warns. Talk to them in person.
What did this mean?
Robert seemed to take it to mean that personal contact was always better than a phone call. Nothing more than that.
I don't know what the jury thought, but I thought Robert's credibility vanished with that statement.
Defense lawyers for the governor say they expect him to testify before the end of the week, perhaps as soon as today.
The Blagojevich brothers made it, one in politics and the other in business. They had it all.
Now, they're just hoping to stay out of federal prison.
From All American Blogger
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