FBI testifies about Blagojevich taping

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UPDATED:

An FBI official testified before the Illinois Senate on Tuesday as to the authenticity of a tape of Gov. Rod Blagojevich saying he would not give up the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Obama “for nothing.”

The testimony by the official, who was not identified immediately, came on the second day of Mr. Blagojevich’s impeachment trial.

The governor was absent from the proceedings for the second successive day, again conducting a widespread national media campaign to declare his innocence of impeachment charges against him. CNN said he had scheduled 11 different TV appearances Tuesday.

The FBI official read from the transcript of an audio tape in which Mr. Blagojevich referred to his authority as governor to appoint a replacement for the seat vacated by Mr. Obama, who then was president-elect.

“I got this thing and it’s … golden, and I’m not going to give it up for … nothing,” the official quoted the transcript as saying.

The official testified about tapes that had been made of conversations that Mr. Blagojevich had both in his Chicago office and in his home. The taping began in the governor’s Chicago office in October and then later was extended to the governor’s residence, CNN said.

The federal government has accused Mr. Blagojevich of seeking to receive benefits in exchange for appointing a successor to Mr. Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. Mr. Obama was the junior senator from Illinois before his election as president.

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