Rod Blagojevich Trial: Ex-Chief of Staff Lon Monk Testifies That Blagojevich Tried to Shake Down Racetrack Owner

When the Rod Blagojevich trial resumed today after a weekend recess, testimony turned to a racetrack shakedown, Mr. Magoo and the pride and joy of the former governor—his unusually thick and never mussed hairdo.

Back on the stand was former Blagojevich chief of staff and fundraiser Alonzo “Lon” Monk, who by 2008 was a lobbyist representing a number of clients including John Johnston, the owner of Maywood Park and Balmoral Park, two Chicago-area horseracing tracks.

Johnston was then pushing for a new law that would have restored recently expired subsidies from riverboat casinos to racetracks, which long had complained that their business suffered at the hands of the riverboats. If the bill passed and Blagojevich signed it, racetracks stood to get millions of dollars.

Prosecutors have played a second recording dealing with the solicitation of a $100,000 contribution from race track owner John Johnston.

On this Nov. 14, 2008 tape, Lon Monk and Robert Blagojevich are again talking about the status of contribution.

"(Johnston) said, 'Tell the big guy I'm good for it. I'm just figuring out which accounts to pull the checks from,'" Monk says on the tape.

But it sounds like Monk is trying to keep Robert Blagojevich in the dark about any wrongdoing.

Rod Blagojevich's former top aide testified his corruption trial Monday that the governor pressed him to collect a $100,000 campaign contribution from a racetrack owner while he delayed in signing legislation that would send millions of dollars into the coffers of the racing industry.

In his grueling third day on the stand, a haggard-looking Alonzo Monk admitted that he was under so much pressure from the governor to get the campaign money and the racetrack owner to get the bill signed that he repeatedly lied to make it sound as if he was doing more than he was for both sides.