Previous attempts by Mr. Blagojevich’s defense team to involve Mr. Obama in the proceedings, including a request to subpoena the president to testify, have been rebuffed by federal judge overseeing the case.
On Wednesday in court, an angry Mr. Blagojevich is heard grumbling on FBI wiretap tapes that he is willing to appoint a favorite of Barack Obama’s to the U.S. Senate, but the newly elected president is “all take and no give.”
“The arrogance of these people,” Mr. Blagojevich is heard saying on a tape of a conversation with a former deputy governor, Doug Scofield, a few days after Obama’s November 2008 election to the White House.
When another adviser tells Mr. Blagojevich in a telephone call at about the same time that he would be wise to go ahead and appoint Mr. Obama’s friend, the governor explodes, saying no one is willing to help him in his political troubles with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
“I’m left with gridlock, a pissed-off speaker, a potential impeachment and a president who is all take and no give,” Mr. Blagojevich snaps.
The governor is heard saying he wants a reward such as being secretary of health and human services in the new administration in return for appointing Chicago businesswoman and civic leader Ms. Jarrett to the Senate seat that the president-elect was leaving.
Ronald J. Allen, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law who is following the trial, said he doubts there is any illicit involvement on Mr. Obama’s behalf. If that were the case, such details would have been laid out in FBI reports and likely disclosed by the judge.
“I really don’t think Obama had any role in this at all,” Mr. Allen said.