Skip to main content

Former Illinois governor Blagojevich expected to testify Tuesday

By the CNN Wire Staff
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected to testify in his own defense at his corruption trial.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is expected to testify in his own defense at his corruption trial.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Brother testifies Blagojevich was hoping for administration job
  • Blagojevich is on trial for corruption-related charges
  • He is expected to testify in his own defense
  • He has professed his innocence in many different ways
RELATED TOPICS

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) -- After months of professing his innocence in impromptu news conferences, on Twitter and even on Donald Trump's show "Celebrity Apprentice," former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may finally get to tell his story to a jury Tuesday.

The two-term Democrat was removed from office in January 2009 amid accusations that he had attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat that had been occupied by Barack Obama before he became president. The federal trial started in June, and Blagojevich is expected to be one of the defense witnesses called to the stand Tuesday.

The ousted governor is accused of "conspiring to obtain personal financial benefits" in exchange for an appointment to Obama's seat, including a possible job in Washington or with a lucrative private foundation. In one conversation recorded by federal agents, he told an aide, "I've got this thing and it's [expletive] golden. I'm just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing."

His brother, Robert Blagojevich, testified Tuesday that the governor was "trying to politically work something to his benefit" in handling the appointment -- but was thinking in terms of political horse-trading, not corruption.

"It didn't seem out of the ordinary because Obama was taking a lot of people from Illinois with him to D.C.," said Robert Blagojevich, who raised money for his brother. He said the governor "was interested in the idea of being the head of Health and Human Services."

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.

The ousted governor has vehemently denied his charges, sometimes in unorthodox ways.

In April, Blagojevich challenged the manhood of the lead prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald during a fiery news conference. Blagojevich railed about the prosecution wanting to withhold what he thought were tapes that would prove his innocence.

"I challenge Mr. Fitzgerald. ... Why don't you show up in court tomorrow and explain to everybody, explain to the whole world why you don't want the tapes that you made played in court?" Blagojevich said to reporters on the eve of a April pretrial hearing. "I'll be in court tomorrow. I hope you're man enough to show up."

Video: Blagojevich: Ready to get truth out

Blagojevich has also taken his fight to microblogging site Twitter. "(L)ooking forward to opening statements because that will unlock the truth... stay tuned," Blagojevich tweeted before his trial began.

Blagojevich also was on NBC'S "Celebrity Apprentice" reality television show and was seen in many episodes declaring his innocence.