CHICAGO, June 2 (UPI) -- Rod Blagojevich's profane remark about filling Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat reflected his wish to help Illinois voters, the ex-governor testified.
"I'm afraid to answer this, but I'm not quite sure how to answer it," said Blagojevich, when asked to explain a wiretapped Nov. 5, 2008, phone call in which he spoke of his power to pick a replacement for Obama in the U.S. Senate.
"I've got this thing and it's [expletive] golden, and I, I'm just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing," he said in the call.
Blagojevich is charged with trying to sell the Senate seat once held by Obama.
"Well, that's the, that's, uh, the Senate seat -- that's the phrase, 'effin' golden,' that was heard around the world," Blagojevich testified Wednesday, pausing often. "I was saying that this opportunity is effin' golden, and that's what I was saying, and I don't want to give it up for nothing, so we had these discussions" with advisers on how to use the appointment power as a bargaining chip.
He said he was trying to make the best decision for Illinois voters, but didn't want to be left behind when other politicians were still moving up.
U.S. District Judge James Zagel accused Blagojevich of "smuggling" in inappropriate testimony when Blagojevich suggested in front of jurors the government had deleted portions of recorded calls that were favorable to him.
Zagel also berated defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein for dragging out Blagojevich's testimony so prosecutors couldn't get a crack at the ex-governor until next week, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Because of the stall tactics, the prosecution would be free to start its cross-examination Thursday, no matter when the defense concluded, Zagel said.
Normally, the defense would conclude, or rest, before the prosecution began.