Former Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager Alonzo Monk Testifies in Rod Blagojevich Trial as Witness for the Prosecution (Trial Day 5)
Testimony from Rod Blagojevich's former Chief of Staff, Lon Monk, continued for several hours afternoon.
Lon Monk described a 2002 meeting he had with Blagojevich and two other men, Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly, who were well known fundraisers for Governor Blagojevich.
During that meeting, Tony Rezko came up with a plan for how the four men could make money for themselves through state business. (Rezko, a Chicago businessman and political fundraiser, was convicted in 2008 on corruption charges. He remains in jail and is expected to testify in this trial) Monk says Rezko had 8 or 9 ideas written on a big board in a conference room with dollar signs circled around each idea. One of Rezko's ideas was to create or purchase an insurance company to do business with the state of Illinois and the four men would split the profits. Monk says each one of Rezko's plans would generate as much as $100,000.
In all likelihood it was wrong and we were breaking the law.”— Alonzo Monk, Rod Blagojevich's Chief of Staff
A key aide who was by the side of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich through most of his political career took the stand in his corruption trial Wednesday to testify against his old law school roommate.
Alonzo Monk is considered a key witness. Prosecutors say he was part of a tight group around Blagojevich who pressed companies for campaign cash on Blagojevich's behalf. Monk pleaded guilty to conspiring to shake down a racetrack owner for a large campaign contribution and is testifying as part of the plea deal.
As Rod Blagojevich glared at his former best friend and law school roommate, Alonzo “Lon’’ Monk took the witness stand today to provide testimony that is expected to make up the heart of federal prosecution’s corruption case against Illinois’ former governor.
Blagojevich — seated at the defense table — glared at Monk when he walked into court around 11:30 a.m., his eyes tracking Monk all the way to the witness stand.
Monk, 51, of Decatur, looked straight ahead, even as he walked right by his longtime friend.
Something changed today, at least behind the scenes, with Blagojevich's law school buddy and long time aid, Alonzo "lon" Monk, taking the stand as a government witness.
The politician turned defendant approached the microphones this morning (Despite yesterday's warning from James Zagel). Blagojevich spouted a new version of his innocent man speech saying he was ready for the lock box on truth to be opened. While he was walking away, a reporter from Chicago's WLS-TV shouted a question regarding his feelings about his close friend testifying against him. Blagojevich didn't respond.
But a person traveling in his entourage told me today Blagojevich was visibly upset by the time they reached the elevators. The source didn't quote Blago verbatim but said the former Governor uttered things to the effect that he could not believe this was happening.
The onetime chief of staff for Rod Blagojevich is testifying that he and others in the former Illinois governor's inner circle — including Blagojevich — talked about how they could make money from state actions.
Alonzo Monk says he, fundraisers Tony Rezko and Christopher Kelly and the governor referred to themselves as "one, two, three, four." And he says the first person to talk to him about making money from state actions was Kelly, who was found dead last year in what police say was a suicide.
Ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich wasn’t thrown completely under the bus during court testimony on Wednesday, but he was easily slid onder one of the tires.
In Blago’s political corruption trial, longtime Blagojevich friend and former chief of staff Alonzo Monk told jurors the governor was consistently occupied by fundraising and didn’t separate that from running the state.
“He’d discuss how much was being raised, goals, who was raising the money, who else the campaign should pursue,” he said. Many of those talks were with firms and people that did business with Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reported on a blog.