Blago judge: Obama unaware of seat exchange bid - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Blago judge: Obama unaware of seat exchange bid

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CHICAGO (AP) -- A federal judge in Chicago says there's no evidence President Barack Obama knew in 2008 that then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich might have attempted to exchange an appointment to Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat for a top administration job.

Judge James Zagel made the comment Monday during Blagojevich's corruption trial in denying a defense motion to see FBI interview notes with Obama.

The defense wants to know if Obama ever reported to authorities concerns that Blagojevich sought to name someone to the Senate seat in exchange for a Cabinet post.

Zagel says someone doesn't need to know they're a victim for a crime to occur. He compared the situation to an attempted bank robbery that happens although some tellers are unaware of it.

Blagojevich has denied any wrongdoing.

Defense questions former Blagojevich adviser

CHICAGO (AP) -- The defense at Rod Blagojevich's retrial has begun cross-examining an old friend and former adviser of the ousted Illinois governor.

Monday is lobbyist John Wyma's second day on the stand in federal court in Chicago.

Last week, he addressed allegations that Blagojevich sought to profit by naming someone to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat. He also touched on accusations Blagojevich tried to shake down executives for campaign cash.

Wyma also told jurors he reluctantly agreed to cooperate with the FBI after he became alarmed by Blagojevich's pressure tactics. And he said his decision to inform on Blagojevich was deeply upsetting.

Blagojevich told reporters last week Wyma lied on the stand. He says his old friend's testimony was like "a dagger" through his heart.

Senate testimony to wrap up at Blagojevich retrial

CHICAGO (AP) -- Testimony about allegations that Rod Blagojevich sought to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat is nearly done.

The ousted Illinois governor's retrial resumes Monday with cross-examination of longtime Blagojevich friend John Wyma.

Prosecutors say they'll wrap up with their last witnesses on the Senate seat issue sometime this week. Their focus then switches to allegations that Blagojevich tried to squeeze executives for campaign cash by threatening state decisions that could hurt their businesses.

Wyma has spoken both about the Senate seat and the alleged shakedowns. He also described how he agreed to cooperate with the FBI. And he says that decision was deeply upsetting.

Blagojevich told reporters last week that Wyma is lying. He says his friend's testimony was like "a dagger" through his heart.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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