CHICAGO, May 18 (UPI) -- His lawyer says former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was simply practicing politics as usual when he tried to swap official action for campaign cash.
Aaron Goldstein said three prosecution witnesses who allege Blagojevich tried to put the squeeze on them have a history of raising cash for other powerful political figures, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.
Goldstein's statement came at a hearing before U.S. District Judge James Zagel conducted without the jury present.
Blagojevich is being re-tried on charges he attempted to profit from filling the U.S. Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated when he won the presidency.
At the hearing Goldstein previewed a pitch he'd like to make to the jury that three government witnesses with a history of raising cash for powerful political figures are now claiming to have had reservations about Blagojevich, the newspaper said.
Zagel said he is not impressed with the defense attempt to blur the line between legal and illegal fundraising.
Construction consultant Gerald Krozel testified before the jury Tuesday that Blagojevich and his former chief of staff pressured him into donating campaign cash in exchange for passing a multimillion-dollar tollway bill, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.