Things are moving real slow in preparation for the Rod Blagojevich trial but yesterday, July 9, 2009, the Chicago Tribune reported that Blagojevich chief of staff, John Harris, has agreed to testify against him. What do the names, Rod Blagojevich, John Harris, Tony Rezko, Emil Jones, and Valerie Jarrett all have in common?
Here are some exerpts from the Chicago tribune areticle:
“A chief of staff to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich became the first insider to formally agree to testify for the government, pleading guilty Wednesday in the sweeping federal corruption case against his ex-boss.
John Harris, who was arrested with the former governor in December, is expected to detail for prosecutors perhaps the most stunning charge in the case: how Blagojevich allegedly used his power to appoint a successor to President Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate to barter to enrich himself.
In exchange for Harris’ testimony, prosecutors agreed to recommend he serve less than 3 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud and is expected to be one of a series of former aides and confidants — fellow chiefs of staff Alonzo “Lon” Monk and John Wyma as well as fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko among them — to testify against Blagojevich.
The plea agreement alleges that the former governor viewed the Senate appointment as a unique opportunity to try to bargain with the new Obama administration, perhaps leading to a Cabinet or ambassador’s post.”
“Among them was the allegation that Blagojevich sent Harris to Springfield to see if one Senate candidate would be willing to exchange all the money in his campaign fund for the seat, a message that Harris says he did not explicitly deliver.
Sources identified that candidate as former state Senate Majority Leader Emil Jones (D-Chicago), who denied such a discussion took place.”
“The plea agreement alleged that Blagojevich discussed an option with an official from the Service Employees International Union — an individual he understood to be an emissary working on behalf of Obama. Blagojevich was hopeful that by naming an individual identified only as “Senate Candidate B” — previously disclosed to be Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett — he could secure an appointment to become secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the agreement said.”