National

Jun 9, 2010 1:33 PM by Greg Boyce

Key witness takes stand in Blagojevich trial

A longtime member of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's inner circle has taken the stand in his corruption trial to testify against him.

Alonzo Monk is considered a key witness. Prosecutors say he was part of a tight group around Blagojevich who pressed companies for campaign cash on Blagojevich's behalf. Monk pleaded guilty to conspiring to shake down a racetrack owner for a large campaign contribution and is testifying as part of the plea deal.

Defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. has said Monk duped Blagojevich and the governor had no part of any alleged misdeeds. Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to scheming to profit illegally from his power to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama and squeeze people for campaign contributions.

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