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Harris also testified that he and the governor mused about Mr. Emanuel personally wanting Ms. Jarrett to take the seat because he didn’t want her working in the White House.

Mr. Blagojevich, 53, has pleaded not guilty to the charges that he schemed to sell the Senate seat for personal gain. He also has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to launch a racketeering scheme using the powers of the governor’s office.

If convicted, Mr. Blagojevich could face up to $6 million in fines and 415 years in prison, though he will likely get much less under federal sentencing guidelines.

His brother, Robert Blagojevich, 54, has pleaded not guilty to taking part in the purported scheme to sell or trade the seat and conspiring to put illegal pressure on a potential campaign donor, a racetrack owner who was hoping Mr. Blagojevich would sign legislation benefiting his business.

Defense attorneys Thursday attempted to delay the trial so they could study a Supreme Court ruling that they said could affect the case against their client. The high court ruling cast doubt on what is called the “honest services” law - the basis for some of the charges facing Mr. Blagojevich.

In the opinion issued Thursday, the justices were unanimous in imposing limits on the use of the law, which had been described by critics as so vague that a federal prosecutor could label all sorts of activities criminal.

However, U.S. District Judge James Zagel rejected the request and allowed the trial to proceed. The judge said he had read the opinion on the law, adding that it “may not offer a lot of hope for you.”

Federal prosecutors also brought charges not based on the “honest services” statute in anticipation of the ruling.

  • This article is based in part on wire service reports.