I’m just now catching up to the Roland Burris-Rob Blagojevich transcript that got released earlier this week, in which the wannabe Senator from Illinois scrambles to find a way to pay off the Blago machine in time for the Senate decision.
I’m most struck by the centrality of Fred Lebed, then Burris’ law partner, to the discussion. That’s because we’ve got several pieces of evidence that Lebed would be–and might have been–at the center of a quid pro quo between Burris and Blago.
RobBlago mentions Lebed when he first raises the issue of "anything you might be able to do."
BLAGOJEVICH: We’ve had a number of conversations about, you know, anything you might be able to do; you and Fred might be able to do here before the end of the year for Rod.
And when Burris suggests he’ll have to do a fundraiser, he alludes to conversations with Lebed about the appearance that would give.
BURRIS: So let, it is and so if I put on a fundraiser now …
BLAGOJEVICH: Mm hm.
BURRIS: … and, I, you know I, I think it would have something … this is what I’ve been talking to Fred about it, it has so many negative connotations that Burris is trying to buy an appointment …
Burris then tries to buy time by explaining that Lebed is on a business trip to NY (Tim Wright is the lawyer who represented Burris in his appearance before the State Legislature, and who was giving him detailed directions on how to respond to questions about contacts with the Blago people, which makes his appearance in this context interesting unto itself).
BURRIS: And, and my law partner we were gonna try to do something at the law firm. I might be able to do this in the name of Tim Wright.
BLAGOJEVICH: Mm hm.
BURRIS: Okay, ’cause Tim is not looking for an appointment, okay.
BURRIS: So if I can talk to my law partner who’s been, you know, in New York trying to drum up business.
BURRIS: I think he’ll be back in on Monday.
BURRIS: But, ah, but Fred and I, look I said I gotta call you. I have, I have not.
BURRIS: ‘Cause I didn’t know how to deal with this situation.