Posted by Bridgette
BLAGO’S LAWYERS: OBAMA LIED TWICE
By Barbara Hollingsworth
April 22, 2010
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers filed a redacted motion Thursday to subpoena President Obama to testify at Blago’s upcoming corruption trial in June. They apparently want the president himself to testify about whether he sent “emissaries” to Blago from the White House to inform him of the president’s preferences to fill his vacated Senate seat.
‘President Obama has direct knowledge to allegations made in the indictment. In addition, President Obama’s public statements contradict other witness statements, specifically those made by labor union official and Senate Candidate B [believed to be White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett],” the motion said.
The former governor’s lawyers also claim that Tony Rezko admitted he violated federal election laws by personally contributing “a large sum of cash” to an unnamed public official believed to be Obama.
Blago’s lawyers also accused Obama of not telling FBI agents the truth when he said Rezko never relayed a quid pro quo offer from a lobbyist who wanted to hold a fundraiser for Obama in exchange for favorable legislation, and again when he denied having any conversations with Rezko about a license for a casino linked to the Chicago mob.
BLAGO SEEKS TO SUBPOENA OBAMA IN CORRUPTION TRIAL
Democrat Rod Blagojevich has asked a federal judge to issue a subpoena to force President Obama to testify at the ousted governor’s corruption trial.
In a motion filed Thursday with U.S. District Judge James Zagel, Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam says Obama has direct knowledge of allegations made in the indictment.
It would be extremely unusual for a sitting president to testify at a corruption trial.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, Randall Samborn, had no comment on the 11-page motion. The filing contained several sections blacked out, apparently because they refer to material that the court has placed under seal.
Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to charges that accuse him of scheming to sell or trade the Senate seat left vacant by Obama’s election as president.
BLAGOJEVICH TO JUDGE: MAKE OBAMA TESTIFY
Ex-gov says president had more of a role in pushing Valerie Jarrett to replace him in the Senate
April 22, 2010
By Natasha Korecki and Chris Fusco
Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers asked a federal judge today to force President Obama to testify at Blagojevich’s upcoming corruption trial, asserting that Obama played more of a role in the process of selecting someone to replace him in the U.S. Senate than Obama has acknowledged.
On the day before he was elected president, then-Sen. Obama personally called a union official about his desire for Blagojevich to
appoint Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to replace him in the Senate, according to Blagojevich’s defense filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The court filing cites statements the unnamed labor official made to the FBI as part of its criminal investigation of the since-ousted governor. The statements by the union official to the FBI — as relayed through Blagojevich’s lawyers — had never been made public before now.
They appear to slightly differ from Obama’s recollection of events regarding Jarrett and regarding Blagojevich’s authority as governor to appoint someone to fill Obama’s Senate seat.
Shortly after Blagojevich’s arrest in December 2008 on charges that included allegations he tried to sell an appointment to fill Obama’s seat in the Senate, a lawyer for Obama, then the president-elect, issued a report about “any staff contacts or communications” between Obama and his inner circle “relating to the president-elect’s succesor in the United States Senate.”
“The president-elect had no contact or communication with Gov. Blagojevich or members of his staff about the Senate seat. In various conversations with transition staff and others, the president-elect expressed his preference that Valerie Jarrett work with him in the White House. He also stated that he would neither stand in her way if she wanted to pursue the Senate seat nor actively seek to have her or any other particular candidate appointed to the vacancy.”
In their court filing today, Blagojevich’s lawyers said FBI interviews with the unnamed labor union official and also with an unnamed labor union president show Obama did try to intervene on Jarrett’s behalf, though.
Blagojevich’s lawyers cited a Feb. 2, 2009, interview with the labor union president regarding his conversation with the other union official who spoke of getting a Nov. 3, 2008, phone message from Obama.
The court filing says, in part: “After labor union official listened to the message, labor union official told labor union president, ‘I’m the one.’ Labor union president took that to mean that labor union official was to be the one to deliver the message on behalf of Obama that [Jarrett] was his pick.”
Blagojevich’s lawyers also cited a Feb. 3, 2009, FBI interview with the union official, quoting the official as saying, “Obama was aware that [labor union official] would be reaching out to Blagojevich.”
The Blagojevich court filing doesn’t accuse the president of any wrongdoing.
But Blagojevich’s lawyers, who previously said they might seek the president’s testimony, asked the judge in the case today to issue a trial subpoena to compel Obama to testify at the former governor’s June trial, saying Obama would be called to corroborate parts of their defense.
“There are two conflicting stories, and the defense has the right to admit evidence that contradicts the government’s claims,” the Blagojevich filing said. “Only President Obama can do this.”
Last year, Blagojevich’s lawyers asked for FBI reports of an interview with the president.
The White House has declined to comment.
“As of today’s date,” Blagojevich’s lawyers wrote, “the defense has not received any notes, transcripts or reports from President Obama’s interview with the government.”
Portions of the electronic court filing were blacked out by defense lawyers, apparently because of an order by U.S. District Judge James Zagel that has kept some material in the case under seal. But, because of a glitch, the redacted portions were viewable.
UPDATE: What the Public Wasn’t Supposed to Know in Blagojevich’s Defense Filing! Redacted Areas Are Revealed. The disclosed sentences are in bold type and start at #9.