May 26, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — Former governor Rod Blagojevich told jurors hearing tapes in which he refers to a U.S. Senate Seat appointment as ”f–ing golden” makes him wince. ”I’m an f-ing jerk and I apologize,” he said on the stand Thursday. Blagojevich, 54, faces 20 charges of corruption. He maintains his innocence.
Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat left open by Barack Obama for his own person gain, among other things. The former governor took the stand in his own defense Thursday.
“I would prefer to be somewhere else,” Blagojevich told jurors, but said he was in court to tell the truth after a 2 1/2 year wait. He said he felt “very liberated.”
Blagojevich did not take the stand in his first trial despite numerous promises to do so. He was found guilty on one of 24 counts last year. Jurors were hung on all the others.
Blagojevich defense attorney Aaron Goldstein showed a photograph of Blagojevich at 15 and asked the former governor about his childhood. Blagojevich said he had “big aspirations that I was going to be in the NBA.” He also spoke about how he flunked drafting at Lane Tech High School. When talking about his baseball dreams, Blagojevich said, “You have your ups and downs and some of the things you want to do don’t work out.”
He also talked about being a shoeshine boy and became choked up when talking about how his father left Chicago to find work as a janitor at the Alaskan Pipeline site. “My mother and father are the reason I went to college and law school,” Blagojevich said. He said his mom, who is deceased, “didn’t feel like politics was a safe profession.”
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