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Jackson Digs Blago a Hole

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 25, 2011 8:40PM

2011_5_junior_chi.jpg Maybe Rod Blagojevich's lawyers calling Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. to testify in their client's defense wasn't the wisest decision. While much of the media attention fell on Mayor Emanuel's testimony, which only lasted three minutes and did no harm to Blagojevich's defense, the testimony of "Senate Candidate No. 5" made some observers wonder if Jackson was a witness for the prosecution.

Jackson said he never agreed to raise campaign cash for Blagojevich, but he also disclosed a previously unknown allegation that Blagojevich would appoint Jackson's wife, 7th Ward Ald. Sandi Jackson, director of the Illinois Lottery in exchange for a $25,000 donation to Blagojevich's gubernatorial campaign.

Jackson did admit under oath his desire to be appointed Senator and described the full-court press he took in the media to convince Blagojevich.

"I met with editorial boards across the state, instituted a letter-writing campaign of very prominent people to urge him to appoint me. ... Some local newspapers wrote articles telling me to slow down my self-advocacy,” Jackson said.

Jackson then testified that former Rep. Bill Lipinski approached him about donating the $25,000 to Blagojevich's campaign, which he refused. "I never directed anyone to raise money for another politician in my life, other than myself, in 16 years," he said.

But he still believed that Sandi Jackson had a chance at being appointed Lottery Director and forwarded a copy of her resume to Tony Rezko. Later, Jackson and Blagojevich met after the new lottery director was named.

“In classic Elvis Presley fashion, he said snapped his fingers and said, ‘You should have given me that $25,000,’ ’’ Jackson testified, apparently turning Patti Blagojevich red in the process.