Rod Blagojevich's Attorneys Question Blagojevich's Former Chief of Staff

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was surrounded by highly skilled and intelligent advisers, defense attorney Sam Adam is demonstrating in his cross-examination of John Harris.

Adam started by trying to show that Harris is an intelligent man, former military man, knows law and speaks some Russian. And he's one of the top advisers to Rod Blagojevich.

Now, he's going through other aides to Blagojevich who came up in the prosecution's questioning, including pollster Fred Yang, former Deputy Gov. Bob Greenlee, adviser John Wyma.

Adam is running through a list of qualifications for each of these people:

"Did you know that Sen. Dick Durbin was one of (Fred Yang's) clients?"

After spending part of the day building up former chief of staff John Harris as an intelligent, highly-educated aide, defense lawyer Sam Adam Sr. puts in the dagger:

"You never told him, did you, it'd be illegal to ask Obama to appoint him," Adam asks Harris, referring to Rod Blagojevich wanting a cabinet position from President-Elect Obama in exchange for appointing Obama friend Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat.

Rod Blagojevich’s lawyer, Sam Adam Sr., began his cross-examination of John Harris, but the direction of the often rambling and disjointed questions posed by Adam before the lunch break was hard to discern.

Adam walked Harris through his resume as a former military-intelligence officer, Army lawyer and Chicago city official. He then got Harris to acknowledge that he took a slight pay cut to leave Mayor Richard Daley’s office to go to work for Blagojevich in 2005 as chief of staff.

Harris had testified that the first substantive conversation in which Blagojevich asked what he personally could get for the Senate seat was in October 2008 on a car trip to Northwestern University. Adam tried to ask whether every conversation Blagojevich had on the topic after that was in the presence of either Harris or the governor’s general counsel, William Quinlan, who Adam sometimes slips and calls Bill Clinton.

But Hamilton objected to that, too, at one point looking weary as she wiped a hand over her brow.

Sam Adam Sr. spent a few minutes asking about Patti Blagojevich and her husband’s alleged interest in getting her state work, possibly as head of the Illinois Pollution Control Board.

That never happened, and Adam pointed out that Patti never got a state job – inside the governor’s office or otherwise – during the tenure of John Harris.

She did eventually get work at the Chicago Christian Industrial League with the help of Gery Chico, a former top aide to Mayor Richard Daley, Adam said.

“Who is Gary Cooper – I mean Gery Chico?” said Adam, drawing a few chuckles.

Then it was on to Blagojevich picking a U.S. senator to succeed Barack Obama following his election as president in November 2008.

Former chief of staff John Harris acknowledges he heard Blagojevich talk of a deal where Madigan would get the seat in exchange for having her father, powerful Speaker of the House Michael Madigan passing a Blagojevich legislative bill that would include health care expansion.