* Rod Blagojevich’s attorneys filed a motion today to subpoena President Obama to testify at the former governor’s trial…
“President Obama has direct knowledge to allegations made in the indictment. In addition, President Obama’s public statements contradict other witness statements, specifically those made by labor union official and Senate Candidate B,” the motion said.
The motion is here. Several parts are redacted, but you can easily copy and paste the entire motion into a text file and view all the redacted material. Oops on somebody’s part.
* All of the most explosive allegations in the motion were redacted.
Blagojevich’s lawyers allege that Tony Rezko admitted to violating the law by personally contributing “a large sum of cash” to a public official’s campaign, which the Blagojevich people say is Obama.
The lawyers claim that Obama may not have been telling the truth when he said Rezko never relayed a request from a lobbyist to hold a fundraiser for Obama in exchange for favorable legislative action (Obama, however, refused to agree to the offer, Rezko allegedly says).
They also claim that Obama allegedly lied when he said he didn’t have any conversations with Rezko about a casino license…
In a recent in camera proceeding, the government tendered a three paragraph letter indicating that Rezko “has stated in interviews with the government that he engaged in election law violations by personally contributing a large sum of cash to the campaign of a public official who is not Rod Blagojevich. … Further, the public official denies being aware of cash contributions to his campaign by Rezko or others and denies having conversations with Rezko related to cash contributions.
Rezko has also stated in interviews with the government that he believed he transmitted a quid pro quo offer from a lobbyist to the public official, whereby the lobbyist would hold a fundraiser for the official in exchange for favorable official action, but that the public official rejected the offer. The public official denies any such conversation.
In addition, Rezko has stated to the government that he and the public official had certain conversations about gaming legislation and administration, which the public official denies having had.
President Obama is the only one who can testify as to the veracity of Mr. Rezko’s allegations above.
A redacted footnote offers further explanation…
The defense has a good faith belief that this public official is Barack Obama.
As its proof, the Blagojevich people reference a 2006 Sun-Times story…
Senator Barack Obama was asked: “Did Rezko or his companies ever solicit your support on any matter involving state or federal government? Did Al Johnson, who was trying to get a casino license along with Tony Rezko, or Rezko himself ever discuss casino matters with you?”
Senator Obama answered: “No, I have never been asked to do anything to advance his business interest. In 1999, when I was a State Senator, I opposed legislation to bring a casino to Rosemont and allow casino gambling at docked riverboats which news reports said Al Johnson and Tony Rezko were interested in being part of. I never discussed a casino license with either of them. I was a vocal opponent of the legislation.”
* The rest of the redacted stuff mostly involves claims by the Blagojevich team that Barack Obama was not totally truthful during FBI questioning. “Senate Candidate B” is Valerie Jarrett, who is now one of three senior advisers to the president…
9. Yet, despite President Obama stating that no representatives of his had any part of any deals, labor union president told the FBI and the United States Attorneys that he
spoke to labor union official on November 3, 2008 who received a phone message from Obama that evening. After labor union official listened to the message labor union official told labor union president “I’m the one”. Labor union president took that to mean that labor union official was to be the one to deliver the message on behalf of Obama that Senate Candidate B was his pick.
10. Labor union official told the FBI and the United States Attorneys “Obama expressed his belief that [Senate Candidate B] would be a good Senator for the people of Illinois and would be a candidate who could win re-election. [Labor union official] advised Obama that [labor union official] would reach out to Governor Blagojevich and advocate for [Senate Candidate B].. . . [Labor union official] called [labor union president] and told [labor union president] that Obama was aware that [labor union official] would be reaching out to Blagojevich.” (Labor union official 302, February 3, 2009 p. 3).
11. According to Senate Candidate B, on November, 4 2008, Senate Candidate B spoke with labor union official about the Senate seat. Labor union official said he spoke to Obama. Labor union official said he was going to meet with Blagojevich and said “he was going to push Blagojevich hard on this.
* There is also an allegation of an attempted quid pro quo on the Jarrett Senate appointment…
Supporter of Presidential Candidate Obama is mentioned in a phone call on November 3, 2008, having offered “fundraising” in exchange for Senate Candidate B for senator (Blagojevich Home Phone Call # 149).
…Adding… Obama allegedly shot down former Senate President Emil Jones’ name when it was floated by the Blagojevich team as a possible Senate appointment. And Rahm Emanuel floated Cheryle Jackson’s name…
President’s Chief of Staff told the FBI that he had a conversation discussing the Senate seat with Obama on December 7, 2008 in Obama’s car. President’s Chief of Staff told the FBI “Obama expressed concern about Senate Candidate D being appointed as Senator.
“[President’s Chief of Staff] suggested they might need an expanded list to possibly include names of African Americans that came out of the business world. [President’s Chief of Staff] thought he suggested Senate Candidate E who was the head of the Urban League and with President’s Chief of Staff’s suggestion.”
*** UPDATE *** The New York Times hasn’t figured out that the redactions can be seen…
Judging from what can be seen of the motion, which is full of blacked-out sentences and words (to comply with rules about sealed information), Mr. Blagojevich’s lawyers are hoping the president himself will point up contradictions in the prosecution case and testify about whether he had sent “emissaries” to Mr. Blagojevich with regard to who the White House would prefer fill the Senate seat.