Now the trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich shifts to the defense. Federal prosecutors wrapped their case yesterday after six weeks of putting on evidence in the racketeering and extortion case, attempting to portray Blagojevich as a crass negotiator who inappropriately secured millions for his own campaign and spent lavishly on his wardrobe, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
The defense strategy will not downplay Blagojevich's actions, but focus on his intent. His legal team, headed by Sam Adams Sr. and Sam Adams Jr., hope to convince jurors that the former governor knew what he was doing but was misguided, due to the poor legal advice from his inner circle. The fireworks are expected to come with the witness testimonies of such high-profile figures such as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Valerie Jarrett, a top assistant to President Obama. Defense lawyers want to show that Obama's inner circle aggressively courted Blagojevich to pressure him in his decision-making. Ronald Allen, a criminal law expert at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, says “it's a real reality” that the majority of names on the defense team's witness list will be forced to testify.