Page 2 of 2   <      

At Blagojevich trial, 'dirty schemes' in detail

A federal jury found former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich guilty Tuesday of one count of lying to federal agents, and the judge said he intends to declare a mistrial on the remaining counts.

Illinois was being run by "a corrupt ring of people," the prosecutor said. "It all goes back to him."

To the defense contention that investigators traced no illicit cash to the governor, Niewoehner pointed out that Rezko quietly routed tens of thousands of dollars to Blagojevich's wife for little or no work. He sent another $40,000 to her for home repairs, yet the source of the money appeared nowhere on the couple's income tax returns.

Defense lawyers contend that the former governor talked big but was not too smart, and had no criminal intent. Blagojevich told reporters that he was brainstorming with aides and his brother Robert, who is also on trial. Yet he presented no witnesses to explore or explain hours of FBI tapes or the testimony of three former chiefs of staff, three deputy governors and two finance directors.

In the dramatic exchange that ended the day, Adam told Zagel that he was willing to go to jail rather than surrender his plan to slam the government for failing to call key witnesses.

Zagel said that Adam could not draw inferences to the jury -- suggesting, for example, that the witnesses would have helped Blagojevich's defense -- because Adam, too, chose not to call them.

"I'm sure you will be able to figure out some way that the government's case is insufficient," Zagel said. "It may be possible for you to designate another lawyer to argue for your client if you are incapable of following my rulings."

<       2

© 2010 The Washington Post Company