Jesse Jackson Jr. Fundraiser Testifies To Committing to Raising $1 Million for Rod Blagojevich in Exchange for Jackson Getting Senate Seat Appointment

The thing that's significant, Nayak says: 'I will raise $1 million for Blagojevich if he appoints you (Jackson) to the Senate seat.'”

— Prosecutor Christopher Niewoehner

"Was there also a conversation about fund-raising?" Prosecutor Chrisopher Niewoehner asked.

"Yes there was," Bedi said.

Niewoehner then changes topics. Without jurors present, Niewoehner earlier said that Bedi would testify that Nayak said he could tell then Gov. Rod Blagojevich he'd raise $1 million in campaign cash for Jackson's appointment. Jackson was present at the meeting.

Bedi said he met with Robert Blagojevich, the governor's fund-raising chair at the time, later that same day at 2:30 p.m. at a Lincoln Square Starbucks.

Niewoehner: "Did you talk about Congressman Jackson?"

Bedi said yes. He relayed to Robert Blagojevich: "That congressman is very interested and Raghu Nayak is very close to the Congressman ... and Nayak (was) interested in Jackson getting appointed."

Rajinder Bedi, the onetime $111,708-a-year managing director of the state's
Office of Trade & Investment under Rod Blagojevich -- who and had discussions about Jesse Jackson Jr.'s appointment to the U.S. Senate -- could take the stand in the ex-governor's corruption trial as early as this afternoon.

The Chicago Sun-Times previously reported that Bedi met with Rod Blagojevich's brother, Robert, in late October, 2008, to discuss fund-raising in connection with Jackson's appointment.

Federal prosecutors have alleged that Indian fund-raiser Raghuveer Nayak was an emissary to told the Blagojevich camp that Jackson would raise money in exchange for an appointment.

Former state employee Rajinder Bedi, testifying under a grant of immunity, said he made hundreds of thousands of dollars in a sham scheme involving Raghuveer Nayak. Nayak was a prolific fund-raiser for both Jesse Jackson Jr. and Rod Blagojevich.

Without the jury present, Prosecutor Christopher Niewoehner explains that Jackson, fund-raiser Raghu Nayak and Rajinder Bedi met at the 312 Restaurant in Chicago.

And that's when Nayak discusses raising $1 million for Blagojevich for Jackson's appointment.

Bedi had only gotten as far as to say he met with Jackson at the restaurant and Nayak showed up. Jackson started discussing Peotone Airport at length and the conversation changed.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel then took a break and with the jury out of the courtroom asked prosecutors where the questioning was headed. Assistant U.S. Atty. Christopher Niewoehner said: “Nayak says to Jackson in Bedi’s presence, ‘I will raise a million if he appoints you to the Senate seat.’”

That statement led Bedi that afternoon to mention to the governor’s brother, Robert Blagojevich, that Nayak was both interested to doing fundraising for Blagojevich and that he wants Jackson appointed to the Senate seat, Niewoehner said.

Rajinder Bedi, the state’s former manager of trade and investment, said he met with Robert Blagojevich about holding a fundraiser for the governor in 2008, finally agreeing to host one on Dec. 6 of that year.

Early in his testimony, Bedi said a man named Ragu Nayak, whom he called a good friend, issued checks to Bedi’s company and that Bedi provided cash in return.

The cash Bedi gave back totaled $1.4 million, he said, telling Assistant U.S. Atty. Christopher Niewoehner he understood Nayak was cheating on his taxes by making the payments.