Blago judge says Obama doesn’t have to testify

April 30, 2010

BLAGOJEVICH-ILLINOIS/The federal judge overseeing the corruption trial of  Rod Blagojevich said he sees no need for President Barack Obama to testify, denying a defense request, though he left open the possibility.

“The testimony of the president is not material to this case,” James Zagel of the U.S. District Court in Chicago said at a hearing on Friday.

The issue, as Zagel framed it, was whether Blagojevich thought that a union official coming to see him about who best to fill Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat was an emissary for the president.

According to a defense filing, the unnamed union offiicial said he discussed the seat with Obama the day before the Nov. 4, 2008, election.

Blagojevich, a two-term Democrat ousted from office last year, is accused of trying to sell the Senate seat, which he had the power to fill. He goes on trial on June 3 on 24 counts related to using his office to leverage campaign contributions and job offers for himself and his wife.

Zagel left open the possibility that Obama, a Chicagoan, could be asked to testify later in the trial if the defense presents “affirmative evidence.”

“The president might have something to say … I might change my view on this,” Zagel said.

Blagojevich’s attorney, Sheldon Sorosky, said he was disappointed but insisted the development would not hurt the defense’s case.

РPhoto credit: Reuters/Frank Polich (Rod Blagojevich and attorney Sheldon Sorosky)

One comment

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How is the fact that Obama and Blago had a private conversation, in the back seat of a car, a short amount of time before the arrest, not relevent?

He also had a conversation with Blago via 2 other messenger deliverers. This was in the redacted, covered-up part of the testimony that has already been given, released to the press, and admitted to, by Obama.

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