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Blago: I Want Emanuel, Jackson To Testify

CHICAGO - Disgraced ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he'd like Chicago Mayor-elect and ex-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to testify at his fraud retrial.

He'd also, "in all likelihood," call U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., to testify, Blagojevich told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview in which he said he has had "moments of fear" as he faces a trial on 20 federal charges, including allegations he sought to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat for campaign cash or a high-level job.

Lawyers from both sides haven't said whether they'd call Emanuel, who takes office as mayor May 16, or Jackson to the stand.

Blagojevich told the newspaper he wouldn't promise that he would take the stand. He didn't in his first trial, which ended Aug. 17 with jurors deadlocked on all but one count of lying to the FBI.

Prosecutors simplified their case and dropped complex charges in the retrial.

Blagojevich, 54, admitted to the newspaper he's jealous of the political success of fellow Democrats Emanuel and Obama as he continues to struggle.

"Yeah, of course there's that element -- absolutely," he said.

Emanuel -- who succeeded Blagojevich in Congress and then went on to be Obama's chief of staff before leaving the White House Oct. 2 and winning the Chicago mayoral election Feb. 22 -- received a subpoena to appear at Blagojevich's first trial but was not called to testify.

Emanuel had telephone conversations with Blagojevich and with Blagojevich's chief of staff shortly after Obama's 2008 election as president. A White House report found Emanuel had provided the names of possible replacements to fill Obama's Senate seat but the report concluded Emanuel didn't discuss Blagojevich's getting anything in return for appointing a particular person.


Jackson, son of the civil rights leader and a national co-chairman of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, was mentioned by Chicago political analysts as a possible appointee to fill Obama's Senate seat.
The Office of Congressional Ethics -- an independent, non-partisan entity charged with examining misconduct allegations against House members and their staff -- is reviewing the allegations.

Jackson, who publicly sought the appointment, has said he did nothing wrong and was confident the panel would dismiss the matter.

Neither Emanuel nor Jackson would comment on Blagojevich's remarks.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel is to question potential jurors in Blagojevich's retrial. Blagojevich is required to be present for that, Zagel said.


STORY TAGS: Jesse Jackson, Jr. , Black News, African American News, Minority News, Civil Rights News, Discrimination, Racism, Racial Equality, Bias, Equality, Afro American News

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