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'I'm stupid here,' Blago says about 'f---ing golden' tape

Thursday, June 02, 2011

''I'm stupid here... I'm just being stupid here,'' Rod Blagojevich told jurors after they heard a secretly recorded 2008 conversation in which the former governor calls the U.S. Senate seat ''f---ng golden.''

Blagojevich, 54, is accused of trying to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama for personal gain. He maintains he is innocent.

Blagojevich was on the stand for the fourth day. His defense attorney told Judge James Zagel they expect to finish up Thursday. However, the judge replied he was inclined to let the government start its cross before the defense finished its direct, called an interlocutory cross. No decision was made on that process.

On Wednesday, that testimony swirled around the Senate seat allegation and secretly recorded FBI tapes that have been played for the court.

When asked about the November 5, 2008, conversation in which he calls the U.S. Senate seat "f---ing golden," Blagojevich told jurors Wednesday, "That's the senate seat, I was saying this opportunity is F'n golden, and that's what I'm saying. In my mind, I didn't know. I had no idea."

Blagojevich said he was trying to figure out what he could do with the "unique opportunity" to appoint a U.S. Senator.

That conversation between Blagojevich and Doug Scofield, a former advisor, was played for the court on May 10, 2011. On it, Blagojevich said, "I mean I got this thing and it is f---ing golden. And, I'm just not giving it up for f---ing nothing. I'm not gonna do it. I can always use it and parachute me in there."

On Wednesday, Blagojevich said, "I'm stupid here... I'm just being stupid here... talking to Doug."

He also called a rant full of expletives from a November 2008 call with former deputy Robert Greenlee a "case of unrequited love."

Blagojevich said he was feeling stuck in Illinois as he looked for a U.S. Senate appointee. On the 2008 tape, Blagojevich said, "now's the time to put my f---ing wife and children first for a change." He then lashes his frustrations out on his constituents on the day Barack Obama was elected president: "I f---ing busted my ass and p--- people off and gave your grandmother a f-----' ride on a bus. Okay? I gave your f---ing baby a chance to have health care. I fought every one of those a-------. . . and what do I get for that? Only 13 percent of you all out there think I'm doing a good job. So f--- all of you!"

On the stand Wednesday, Blagojevich said he was "More than frustrated. I was afraid."

Afraid he would be left behind and impeached, Blagojevich said. He said there was "a sense of loneliness and envy that they were all going to Washington..."

Judge reprimands Blagojevich, defense

Judge James Zagel reprimanded Rod Blagojevich and his defense attorneys Wednesday after the former governor made repeated attempts to refer to items the judge ruled he would not allow in trial.

"You have to exercise some control with your witness," Judge Zagel told defense attorneys. Blagojevich, 54, faces 20 charges in this corruption retrial. He is accused of trying to sell or trade a U.S. Senate seat in exchange for his own personal gain.

At issue Wednesday- while testifying about his plans for the U.S. Senate seat appointment, Blagojevich keeps referring to portions of the recorded call transcripts that have been redacted, which is signaled by an asterisk.

"This is the second time he's done this," said a prosecutor.

"This defendant obviously has an agenda," Judge Zagel said. Judge Zagel called the "deliberate actions" Blagojevich made "entirely inappropriate."

"He is never going to refer to those asterisks again," said Judge Zagel, who plans to issue a jury instruction. Judge Zagel said, "I make a ruling, then the ruling is disregarded, then I have to say don't do it."

The defense argued they were trying to get to the truth.

Judge Zagel replied, "There is all kinds of truth that doesn't get admitted."

Earlier Wednesday, the judge and both parties went over what would and would not be allowed in court in connection to the U.S. Senate appointment to the seat left open by newly-elected President Barack Obama. Blagojevich told Judge James Zagel he wanted to testify that he thought it was legal to ask for an appointment or job of his own. Judge Zagel said talking about the legality of his actions was not allowed.

Judge Zagel said it wasn't relevant whether the former governor knew he was playing by the rules. He ruled Blagojevich could only say he had made the plan on "good faith."

When jurors were first seated Wednesday, Blagojevich denied trying to shakedown anyone in exchange for a U.S. Senate appointment.

Defense attorney Aaron Goldstein asked Blagojevich, "These discussions about the Senate seat, did you have them in good faith?"

"Yes," Blagojevich replied. But he then went on to refer to the redacted comments.

Blagojevich, 54, faces 20 charges, including accusations that he tried to sell or trade the U.S. Senate Seat left vacant by the president for his own personal gain. He maintains his innocence.

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rod blagojevich, local, paul meincke
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