Over the six weeks that prosecutors laid out their case against Rod Blagojevich, witnesses and secret wiretaps portrayed the former governor as extravagant, obsessed with his own looks and image, a lousy steward of his family finances, near-delusional in his career ambitions and deeply contemptuous of fellow politicians and even the voters who put him in office.
Much of that was jaw-dropping stuff but in and of itself hardly criminal.
The public humiliation of Blagojevich was part of a broader strategy to create a framework for jurors to understand his motives and judge his alleged wrongdoing.
Federal prosecutors have now rested their case. Here's a look at how they fared in proving up key charges against Illinois' only impeached chief executive.
Senate seat sale
Witness and wiretap evidence: Blagojevich angled to parlay his power to name Barack Obama's replacement in the U.S. Senate into tangible political and personal benefits. He pestered associates about trading his pick to land ambassadorships, Cabinet posts and high-paying jobs with a union or a well-funded public advocacy group. Underlings on the state payroll were dispatched to do research and make overtures about potential deals. In the days before his arrest on Dec. 9, 2008, Blagojevich openly warmed to the idea of picking U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., even though he hated the South Side politician and had earlier ruled him out. The change of heart coincided with Blagojevich's knowledge that prominent businessmen in Chicago's Indian community were offering to raise $1 million in campaign cash for him if Jackson got the nod.
The quote: "I've got this thing and it's (expletive) golden. I'm not just giving it up for (expletive) nothing." — Blagojevich in a Nov. 5, 2008, phone conversation.
Potential holes: No jobs were offered and no money changed hands in connection with the Senate seat, and aides said they often ignored Blagojevich's more far-fetched orders.
Children's Memorial Hospital shakedown
Witness and wiretap evidence: Shortly before his arrest, Blagojevich approved a Medicaid reimbursement rate increase worth up to $10 million primarily to benefit pediatric specialists at Children's Memorial Hospital. The governor had long ignored pleas for the hike until the hospital got former Cubs manager Dusty Baker to intercede. Blagojevich then promised hospital CEO Patrick Magoon the money. Children's Memorial lobbyist John Wyma was also a close adviser to the governor and sat in on a fundraising strategy session at which Blagojevich mentioned the rate increase and his desire to hit up Magoon for contributions in almost the same breath. Wyma said Blagojevich's brother, Robert, followed up the next day with a phone message that also appeared to link the increase and donations. Wyma said that so bothered him that he blew the whistle on Blagojevich to federal agents, who used the information to obtain a court order to bug Blagojevich's campaign office. Magoon testified he began fearing the rate increase was in jeopardy when Robert Blagojevich began calling to solicit contributions just days after the governor had promised money to the hospital.
The quote: "I felt threatened, I felt at risk and I felt a little annoyed." — Magoon on his reaction to being hit up for campaign cash at the same time the governor was promising financial aid to the hospital.
Potential holes: Magoon did not raise money for Blagojevich, and the rate increase came through, though after Blagojevich's arrest. Magoon said the governor did not solicit donations when they talked about the rate increase.
Pensions, Patti and payoffs
Witness evidence: From Blagojevich's early days in office, key advisers plotted how to profit from state financial deals, regulatory decisions and appointments. Nominations to many top jobs and slots on state boards were likened to "ambassadorships" secured with political donations to Blagojevich of at least $25,000. Cronies Antoin "Tony" Rezko, Christopher Kelly and Alonzo "Lon" Monk set in motion plans to secretly take a slice of state deals and eventually divvy it up with the governor. Monk, who served as Blagojevich's chief of staff, said the governor was on hand when the strategy was discussed and the quartet adopted an informal code, referring to their involvement not by name but by number: "1, 2, 3, 4." A $10 billion state bond sale was steered to an investment firm whose Springfield lobbyist earned $800,000 for brokering the deal, with much of that money quickly recycled to pay off debts for Rezko in a series of complicated financial transactions. About the same time, Rezko's real estate development firm began funneling tens of thousands of dollars in payments to Blagojevich's wife, Patti, for work as a broker and consultant that she appeared to have done little or nothing to earn.
The quote: "If you're ever asked about this, don't say anything." — Monk testifying about what Blagojevich once cautioned. The governor then allegedly held up one, two, three and then four fingers before making a slashing motion across his throat.
Potential holes: The money trail is complicated. Monk related his account as part of a plea deal with prosecutors and could not recall many details of the illegal moneymaking deals he said had been outlined for Blagojevich.
The Rahm Emanuel squeeze
Witness evidence: In 2005, the then-North Side congressman, now White House chief of staff, secured the promise of a $2 million state grant from his friend Blagojevich to help the experimental Chicago Academy school build an athletic field. But the next year Blagojevich put a slowdown on the grant. Bradley Tusk, then the deputy governor, testified that he made inquiries on behalf of Emanuel into what was going on and learned that Blagojevich had ordered the grant money held up unless Emanuel's brother, a wealthy Hollywood talent agent, threw a fundraiser for the governor.
The quote: "You need to get your client under control." — Tusk to Blagojevich's legal counsel in 2006.
Potential holes: No fundraiser was held, and the school eventually did receive the promised money, though it came after Tusk raised a stink.
The @#$%&*-ing Tribune
Witness and wiretap evidence: Blagojevich, a passionate Cubs fan, and Tribune Co., which owned the team and Wrigley Field, were engaged in talks about state financial help to facilitate the sale of the aging ballpark. Blagojevich, egged on by his wife, directed chief of staff John Harris to approach Tribune management with a threat to scuttle any deal unless the Chicago Tribune fired editorial writers responsible for blistering editorials about the governor.
The quote: "Tell him to hold up that (expletive) Cubs (expletive). (Expletive) them. (Expletive) them. Why should you do anything for those (expletives)?" — Patti Blagojevich on a Nov. 3, 2008, wiretap.
Potential holes: Harris never passed along the threat to Tribune management, though he lied to Blagojevich and claimed that he had. The writers remained on the Tribune payroll.
The ethics reform cash dash
Witness and wiretap evidence: A state ethics law that Blagojevich tried but failed to sabotage was scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2009, and was squarely aimed at choking off his primary source of campaign cash — big donations from state contractors. Blagojevich pulled out the stops to raise as much as he could before the deadline, leaning heavily on those who sought help from his office. Racetrack executive John Johnston wanted Blagojevich to quickly sign legislation approved by the General Assembly to require riverboat casinos to share revenue with the racing industry. Blagojevich wanted a $100,000 donation from Johnston. Blagojevich also dangled before veteran road-building executive Gerald Krozel the prospect of nearly $8 billion in construction spending for tollway expansion. At the same time, however, he kept pressing Krozel to quickly raise $500,000 in donations from his buddies in the industry.
The quote: "Well, you gotta somehow get there. And don't pay any bills." — Blagojevich, three days before his arrest, speaking about the urgent need to hit financial targets with his brother, who was managing fundraising for the Friends of Blagojevich political committee.
Potential holes: Blagojevich always signaled his intention to sign the racetrack legislation, leaving only the date of when he would get around to it in question. When questioned by the FBI the morning of Blagojevich's arrest, Krozel said he had not felt any pressure from Blagojevich to raise money in exchange for approval of the tollway expansion initiative.
Blagojevich's brother is also on trial, but he often seems like an afterthought in the proceedings. The brothers sit at different tables and do not interact. Robert Blagojevich lives in Tennessee and had little to do with his brother or his political career until 2008, when he agreed to come to Chicago to manage the governor's fundraising.
Most memorable trial quote
"I (expletive) busted my ass and pissed people off and gave your grandmother a free (expletive) ride on a bus. OK? I gave your (expletive) baby a chance to have health care. And what do I get for that? Only 13 percent of you all out there think I'm doing a good job. So (expletive) all of you." — Rod Blagojevich on the voters who elected him, from a government wiretap recorded on Election Day 2008.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun