Blagojevich To Testify In His Defense: Source
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UPDATED 05/24/11 11:17 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich will testify in his own defense as he fights the U.S. government’s case for the second time., sources tell CBS 2.
His attorneys begin to present his side starting on Wednesday, and, CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman learned, they have some big names on their witness list.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s staff confirms he’s on notice. Attorneys for former Governor Rod Blagojevich may call on him to be a witness. The hicago Sun-Times says the same goes for Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.
But what about the man himself?
Last year Rod Blagojevich vowed to take the stand, saying, “When … I swear on the Holy Bible to tell the truth, finally you’ll be able to hear the things I’ve been dying to tell you. I will testify.”
It never happened in his first go-around with the government. Take two: The word is he’s going to take the stand.
That surprises James Matsumoto. He was the jury foreman in the last trial.
“I don’t think there’s any benefit to putting him on the stand,” said Matsumoto.
The jury he led convicted Blagojevich on one count, lying to the FBI, and almost did on the big one: trying to sell President Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat.
Blagojevich is facing that charge again this time.
CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said, “He’ll have to answer tough questions, that frankly, I don’t think he can answer.”
Those questions likely will revolve around things like wire tap evidence.
Miller said, “The way those tapes came in he looks like a greedy, guilty governor. The bottom line is they gotta put him on the stand. They’re hoping the way he testifies, being a politician, he’ll be able to look these jurors in the eye, be able to get their hearts.”
Matsumoto doesn’t believe that will make a difference if the jury looks at the evidence.
Miller says Blagojevich only has to sway one juror. He thinks the former governor will take the stand Thursday. Before he can testify, attorneys must go over what tapes can be played to the jury – or not – with the judge.