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A Preview of the Blago Trial

Governor Blagojevich is pleading his case before the Illinois Senate. Meanwhile, his interview with Campbell Brown contained these eye-opening tidbits:

Blagojevich: But if I am given a chance to bring evidence in an impeachment trial and have the whole story brought to bear. If I can bring his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel in to testify, who said 10 days ago that there was nothing inappropriate in his conversations with me.

If I can bring Valerie Jarrett, a top staffer to President Obama in to testify. If I can bring in Congressman [Jesse] Jackson [Jr.], Sen. [Dick] Durbin, Sen. [Harry] Reid, Sen. [Robert] Menendez and a whole series of other people — in fact, every single person I talked to about the Senate seat, then I can clear my name and we can move forward in Illinois and fairness and justice will prevail.

.    .     .

Brown: But you want to call — many key members of his staff and many of his supporters to testify on your behalf.

Blagojevich: Because they were relevant to this story. Because they were part of this story. Because they were part of discussions on who President Obama’s successor would be the United States Senate because they can tell the truth and the truth will show that what I was trying to do was do the right thing for the people of Illinois.

.   .    .

Brown: So what about these other people? Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett, who aren’t coming forward for you when you really need them?

Blagojevich: No, Rahm Emanuel was on national television, on national network 10 days ago, “Face the Nation.” Can I say it on your show? And he said in the conversations with me there was nothing inappropriate. And I think all the other people I’d like to call, everyone in those conversations, I’d like to have them under sworn testimony because I believe they’d say the same thing.

He may not be able to drag the Obama advisors before the Illinois state senate, but he’s going to be able to get some or all of them in front of a jury in a criminal proceeding as direct witnesses to the alleged bribery crime.  Then it gets interesting. If Blago is right and these witnesses confirm there really wasn’t any discussion of a quid pro quo for the senate seat, what happens to this part of the case?  But conversely, if the witnesses bolster Patrick Fitzgerald’s case that Blago was trolling for a reward, then the Obama advisors are in hot water (for among other things not being candid in the White House’s internal investigation).

Whichever way it comes out it will make for riveting courtroom drama, and an embarrassing distraction for the administration.

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