Prosecutors in the corruption retrial of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich are questioning the value of the two witnesses the defense wants to call, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and US. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Prosecutor Reid Schar says neither could offer relevant testimony to the case, and that both had only one or two conversations with the defendant.
Defense attorney Aaron Goldstein said Jackson can speak to the allegation that Blagojevich sought to sell or trade the appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat. He says Jackson will testify that he never offered or directed anyone to offer campaign contributions for the seat.
The defense was set to call its first witnesses Wednesday. Lawyers in Blagojevich's first trial last year did not call any.
Rod Blagojevich's attorneys will begin mounting their first defense of the former Illinois governor Wednesday in his retrial on corruption charges, and new Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to be one of the opening witnesses.
Emanuel and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. have been called to testify in the Blagojevich case, according to a person familiar with the defense plans who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly. The two elected officials were expected to appear Wednesday at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.
In the first trial last year, Blagojevich's attorneys rested without calling a single witness. The jury later deadlocked on 23 of the 24 counts against the former governor, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat in exchange for campaign funds or a job for himself.