Inherit The Windbag: Day 7, A Lon Day
By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jun 15, 2010 2:40PM
Testimony of former Blago confidant and chief-of-staff Lon Monk continued yesterday as the prosecution wrapped direct and handed Monk over for cross-examination by defense attorneys for the Brothers Blago. As prosecutors wrapped up questioning in the morning, starting with Blago's "Screw those guys," comment about Children's Memorial Hospital, the focus was on then-governor Rod Blagojevich's attempt to wring $100,000 out of racetrack owner John Johnston, holding up signing a bill that would benefit the industry until Johnston had handed over the donation to Blago's campaign. Monk testified, "I was trying to get the contribution as quickly as I could so there would be more time between the contribution and the signing of the bill." More of the Blago Tapes were played to corroborate Monk's story, including one in which Johnston told Monk, "Tell the big guy I'm good for it." In one of those telling moments, the Sun-Times' Chris Fusco writes, "In court, Blagojevich smiles and turns to look at his wife Patti when Johnston calls him 'the big guy.'" Part of Monk's testimony also indicated he was attempting to leave Robert Blagojevich in the dark regarding the $100,000 from Johnston. Oh, and there was, of course, talk of hair. An one of the stranger schemes to come to light was that of the now-deceased Christopher Kelly who intended to use former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar to pitch then-governor of Florida Jeb Bush on pitching then-president George W. Bush for a pardon.
And with that, cross-examination of Monk began with Robert's attorney Michael Ettinger whose main line of questioning was trying to prove that Rob had little to do with the shakedowns that Monk had just testified about. According to Monk, the answer was no, Robert wasn't involved. Ettinger also succeeded in getting Monk to admit that he had lied to both Blago and Johnston for his own benefit. And it was this line of attack that Rod's lead attorney, Sam Adam, Jr., picked up on when he got his turn at cross-examining Monk, trying to paint Monk as a liar. Adam had Monk describe his friendship with Rod all the way back to law school at Pepperdine where Monk said the two didn't participate in anything illegal save for "some occasional drug use." Adam went after Monk's role of the middle man in the alleged extortion of Johnston, that Monk was never fully truthful with either as to their role in the deal, as well as a few other fibs that Monk had thrown out. And it's not over: Adam said he plans to spend all day today with more cross-examination of Monk so expect more fireworks.