CPA Testifies That His Name Was Unknowingly Used Meet State Law Hiring Requirments at Rod Blagojevich Trial

Next on the stand was Michael Horst, a certified public accountant who said he unwittingly found himself in the middle of Rezko’s attempts to install Ata, a big donor to Blagojevich, at the Illinois Finance Authority.

Ata was the choice all along to get the job, but there was a hitch. State law required that Blagojevich offer the names of two candidates for the executive director’s post for the IFA board to consider. So when Ata’s name was submitted in 2004, Horst’s was as well even though Horst said he never sought the job and didn’t know he was even a candidate.

Prosecutors then put on the stand Michael Horst, an accountant who was the other name Blagojevich's administration nominated to head the Illinois Finance Authority when Ali Ata was given the job.

Prosecutors will later argue that Horst's name was put in for cover, when really the appointment all along was going to Ata -- the man who had given Blagojevich $50,000 in campaign checks and whom Tony Rezko believed he could control.

Horst testified that he had never met then-Gov. Blagojevich.

"Did you ask Blagojevich to nominate you?" prosecutors asked Horst.

"No," Horst said.

"Do you have any idea why he did?"

"No," Horst said.