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Blagojevich offered 'pay to play' scheme

May 11, 2011 at 5:59 PM

CHICAGO, May 11 (UPI) -- Testimony Wednesday in the Rod Blagojevich retrial focused on his alleged consideration of naming Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to a Senate seat in exchange for cash.

Government prosecutors played a wiretap of a conversation during the now impeached governor of Illinois told his then-deputy governor, Robert Greenlee, that supporters of Jackson suggested a "pay to play" scheme if Blagojevich appointed Jackson to the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

"Then I, we were approached, pay to play," Blagojevich was recorded saying in the Oct. 31, 2008, call. "That, you know, he'd raise me 500 grand, an emissary came, then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him a senator."

Blagojevich considered a Jackson appointment a "repugnant" choice but apparently changed his mind when the offer got fat, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"It's real bad, I know. I'm gonna meet with him on Monday I think," Blagojevich said. "I mean, ah, just between you and me they've offered a whole bunch of different things they wanna do for me."

Before the lunch break, prosecutors played a wiretap in which Blagojevich, again speaking to Greenlee and apparently upset at a lagging popularity rating, asserted he wanted payback for the personal sacrifices he allegedly made during his political career

"I [expletive] busted my ass and pissed people off and gave your grandmother a free [expletive] ride on a bus. OK?" Blagojevich exploded. "I gave your [expletive] baby a chance to have healthcare. I fought every one of those [expletives], including every special interest out there, who can make my life easier and better, because they wanna raise taxes on you and I won't, I, I fight them and keep them from doing it. And what do I get for that? Only 13 percent of you all out there think I'm doing a good job. So [expletive] all of you."

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