Prosecution Presents Rebuttal Argument in Rod Blagojevich Trial

This guy [Blagojevich] had more training in criminal background than the average lawyer and somehow he’s the accidentally corrupt governor.”

— Reid Schar, Asst. US Attorney

Prosecutor Reid Schar began his rebuttal argument with a direct attack on the often hyperbolic closing presentation of Blagojevich lawyer Sam Adam Jr.

In Adam’s world, Schar said, Blagojevich’s defense could simply be summed up as “I didn’t do it, and if I did it, I didn’t mean to do it.”

Schar likened the prosecution case to a puzzle. He said Adam had sought to get jurors to consider only the individual pieces, while the government wanted them to put the pieces together.

Continuing with his closing, prosecutor Reid Schar tried to counter the argument that defense counsel Sam Adam Jr. made in his closing – that the other side’s argument doesn’t make sense.

Schar encouraged jurors to use their “common sense” when analyzing the evidence and recognize that the exact words Blagojevich used on phone calls wiretapped by federal agents sometimes had deeper meanings.

In the alleged shakedown of road builder Gerry Krozel, Blagojevich talked about the road bill and then moved on to talking about fundraising.

“Remember in 2008 this man was the sitting governor of Illinois that had control of millions, if not billions, of dollars,” Schar said.

To hear Assistant U.S. Atty. Reid Schar tell it, Rod Blagojevich is a liar who blames others for his actions.
Schar is taking aim at the defense team’s assertion that the ex-governor surrounded himself with aides – some of them lawyers – who should have stopped him if his plans were wrong. Yet Blagojevich, a former prosecutor, never blames himself for failing to realize his alleged schemes were illegal, Schar said.

“This guy had more training in criminal background than the average lawyer and somehow he’s the accidentally corrupt governor,” Schar said.

Prosecutor Reid Schar has finished his rebuttal argument, and Judge James Zagel has sent the jury home for the day. He will give them the case tomorrow after reading a long list of instructions on how to interpret the law and the charges during their deliberations.

Before he concluded, Schar argued that a key element of Blagojevich’s defense is that prosecutors are trying to criminalize normal political horse trading -- that he’s been charged with trying to do the kind of deals that politicians have done for decades.

That, said Schar, is a red herring.

“There’s no politician defense in the law,” Schar told jurors, stressing that no one -- not even politicians -- can swap government favors for campaign cash.