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Blagojevich eager for trial to start

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Rod Blagojevich: Ready to get truth out
  • White House officials subpoenaed in trial of former Illinois governor
  • Blagojevich charged with corruption
  • Prosecutors cite near-constant conspiracy of extortion, kickbacks
  • Blagojevich takes to Twitter to proclaim innocence

(CNN) -- Opening statements in the federal criminal trial of embattled former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich are set to begin Tuesday.

The trial could feature White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Both have been subpoenaed as witnesses in the case, according to a senior administration official.

Blagojevich, a two-term Democrat, was impeached and removed from office in January 2009 amid accusations that he had attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat that had been occupied by Obama before he became president.

The ousted governor is accused of telling his former chief of staff, John Harris, that he wanted "a good gig" in exchange for an appointment to Obama's seat, either in Washington or with a lucrative private foundation.

Blagojevich was arrested in December 2008 on federal corruption charges.

Authorities have said that Blagojevich and his inner circle engaged in a near-constant conspiracy of extortion and kickbacks after his 2002 election.

He has denied any suggestion of wrongdoing.

"I will fight, I will fight, and I will fight until I take my last breath," he said after his arrest.

On Monday, Blagojevich took to a new medium to declare his innocence: Twitter.

In the bio on his Twitter profile page Blagojevich proclaims that he's "innocent of all charges" and requests that users of the popular microblogging service to "Follow my campaign to clear my name."

On Twitter, Blagojevich goes by the handle @governorrod and Blagojevich spokesman Glenn Selig confirmed to CNN that the account belongs to the former governor.

"(L)ooking forward to opening statements because that will unlock the truth... stay tuned," Blagojevich tweeted Monday.

The accusations against Blagojevich include offering to divert state contracts to individuals and firms that made campaign contributions and appointing contributors or their associates to key state positions.

Fundraisers "understood that Blagojevich viewed those appointments as an opportunity to reward big fundraisers or Blagojevich's supporters," prosecutors wrote. "Blagojevich consistently wanted to know who recommended a particular

candidate for a board or commission slot."

The accusations also contend that tens of thousands of dollars in unearned commissions and unnecessary retainer fees were diverted to Blagojevich's wife after he and his co-conspirators learned that they were being investigated.

In the year and a half since his arrest, Blagojevich got his own radio talk show, wrote a book, and was a contestant on NBC'S "Celebrity Apprentice."

That stint ended when host Donald Trump told him, "You're fired!"