Blagojevich won’t testify at his trial; defense rests

  • Wed Jul 21st, 2010 10:35pm
  • News

Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Lawyers for Rod Blagojevich told the judge presiding over his corruption trial on Wednesday that the former governor will not testify in his own defense. The defense rested its case without calling a single witness.

As the announcement was made in court, Blagojevich sat still with his hands folded on the defense table, then gave a glance and slight wink to wife, Patti.

Closing arguments are expected to begin Monday.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel questioned Blagojevich directly about his decision.

After stating his name, Blagojevich said he understood the decision he was making. “Yes, judge, fully and completely,” Blagojevich said.

“It is my decision, under the advice of my attorneys,” he said. “I make the decision fully and voluntarily.”

Outside the 25th-floor courtroom, Blagojevich nodded and waved at spectators.

“Sometimes you’ve gotta listen to the advice of your lawyers,” the former governor said.

Standing before a crowd of reporters, cameras and microphones in the courthouse lobby, Rod Blagojevich said he wanted to testify but took the advice of his attorney Sam Adam Sr., who convinced him the prosecution hadn’t proven its case.

“I felt all along and believed all along that I was going to testify,” he said. But he said the government case wasn’t as they presented it, without calling witnesses Antoin “Tony” Rezko and Stuart Levine, both convicted in the federal probe.

“Sam Adam Sr.’s most compelling argument and ultimately the one that swayed me was that the government in their case proved my innocence,” he said. “They proved I did nothing illegal and that there was nothing further for us to add.”

“In the tapes that the government played, they proved as I said all along that I did nothing illegal,” the former governor continued. “In fact they proved that I sought the advice of my lawyers and my advisers. They proved that I was on the phone talking to them, brainstorming about ideas. Yes, they proved some of those ideas were stupid, but they also proved some of the ideas were good.”