Blago Tapes Captivate Senate

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 27, 2009 6:29 PM CST
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich smiles as he reads the New York Times front page story on him before making an appearance on the television program 'The Early Show' Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009 in New York.    (Stephen Chernin)
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(Newser) – Rod Blagojevich was hundreds of miles away, but his voice captivated the Illinois Senate today as impeachment prosecutors played FBI wiretaps of conversations in which he seems to demand campaign contributions in exchange for signing legislation. One person on the recordings assures Blagojevich that a horse-racing track owner "is good for it" and just has to decide "what accounts to get it out of." Another assures him the track owner knows he must keep his "commitment" soon.

Blagojevich replies with comments like "good" and "good job." Legislation sought by the racing industry had been sent to the governor's desk, and on the tapes, he says to reassure a racing lobbyist he hopes "to do this, so we can get together and start picking some dates to do a bill-signing." Several senators said the recordings revealed little they didn't already know, but it was still important to hear them. "I think it kind of grabs you when you hear the voice," said Sen. Dave Luechtefeld. The trial continues tomorrow.