Blagojevich Trial: Defense Attorneys for Rod Blagojevich Question SEIU Official Tom Balanoff
In cross examination, union leader Tom Balanoff goes over some similar testimony with defense lawyer Shelly Sorosky.
Balanoff reiterates his call from President Obama the night before the 2008 Presidential election.
"Valerie Jarrett then told you she was interested in the Senate seat?" Sorosky asked.
"You then had certain marching orders?" Sorosky asks.
"I would not call them marching orders," Balanoff said.
Rod Blagojevich defense lawyer Shelly Sorosky seizes on union leader Tom Balanoff's testimony to prosecutors that he planned to say the union wouldn't support Blagojevich with fund-raising if the then-governor didn't appoint Valerie Jarrett.
"I wouldn't support him at all," Balanoff clarified.
"Could that be someone's understanding that you were extorting him," for an appointment? Sorosky asked. Balanoff was cut off from answering.
Sorosky again asks Balanoff if Blagojevich explicitly offered an appointment for something in return.
"I think he comes pretty close," Balanoff testified. "Did he explicitly say it? No."
U.S. District James Zagel is getting increasingly frustrated with Blagojevich lawyer Sheldon Sorosky, looking as if he’d like to strangle the attorney as the judge lectures him for asking questions that are argumentative or aim to read people’s minds.
Sorosky was picking on union official Tom Balanoff for testifying that the Service Employees International Union wouldn’t support Blagojevich anymore if he didn’t select Obama friend Valerie Jarrett or another politically wise candidate for the vacant U.S. Senate seat.