Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Sunday he would call a
host of high-profile witnesses — including White House Chief of Staff
Rahm Emanuel — to testify if he is retried on corruption charges.
Blagojevich, in a combative interview on "Fox News Sunday," said he was ready for a second trial on charges he tried to sell President Obama's former Senate seat. Federal prosecutors have vowed to retry Blagojevich after a jury deadlocked on all but one of 24 criminal counts the government brought against the Democrat.
"In the second round, we're going to put a defense on, I'm sure," Blagojevich said, vowing to call Emanuel, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), DSCC Chairman Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWhy is Trump undermining his administration's historic China policies? Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Democrats weigh changes to drug pricing measure to win over moderates MORE (D-N.J.) and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) to testify in his defense.
Blagojevich also said he would again attempt to subpoena Obama. That attempt was rejected during the first trial.
"We would call Rahm Emanuel and a whole bunch of other people in the second trial to show what was really going on," Blagojevich said. "The decision I made was to try to make a political deal. Rahm Emanuel a day before my arrest was going to make it happen. They did nothing wrong either."
Blagojevich said he intended to call those witnesses during the first trial, but stopped short when he opted not to put on a defense.
Despite being convicted of lying to the FBI, Blagojevich said he and his lawyers "made the right decision."
But when pressed by "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, Blagojevich would not commit to calling the list of witnesses he had just promised to call to "help vindicate" him.
"I'm going to do what I did in the first trial, which is work with my lawyers and see how things unfold," he said.
Asked if the former governor was still contemplating a political comeback, Blagojevich responded, "When I'm vindicated in this case? Absolutely I do."