CHICAGO, June 8 (UPI) -- Closing arguments started Wednesday in the federal corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich after his lawyers wrapped up his defense.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Hamilton recounted to the jury five instances in which Blagojevich allegedly tried to enrich himself, including using his power to appoint someone to President Barack Obama's just-vacated U.S. Senate seat, WFLD-TV, Chicago, reported. The evidence, she said, is "overwhelming."
She said Blagojevich violated his oath of office and broke the law by horse-trading legislation and attempting to use Obama's Senate seat to benefit himself financially and to get a job in the president's administration. She recounted the tape recording on which the former governor can be heard saying he had a Senate seat and it was "[expletive] golden."
Hamilton drew a defense objection that the judge sustained when she told jurors there are only two conclusions they could draw from the defense's position: focus on the evidence and find Blagojevich guilty or conclude he lied under oath.
Once the prosecution completes its closing remarks, defense attorneys are expected to make their closing arguments Thursday.
Before resting Wednesday, the defense called former U.S. Rep. William Lipinski, D-Ill., who served with Blagojevich in Congress. Lipinski denied ever asking Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., to donate money to Blagojevich but acknowledged that Blagojevich appointed Lipinski's wife to a judgeship.
On the stand, Blagojevich repeatedly denied abusing his official powers by demanding fundraising in a pay-to-play scheme for state action, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Blagojevich faces a trial on 20 federal charges, including allegations he tried to peddle Obama's Senate seat for campaign cash or a high-level job. A jury last summer convicted Blagojevich on one count of lying to the FBI and deadlocked on 23 others.