Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, who was convicted of one of 24 count
s in his corruption trial, rolled out a long list of top Democratic names on Sunday he said he'd call as witnesses in a retrial, and predicted there's a "potential political comeback" in his future.
Blagojevich claimed vindication when a jury found him guilty of one count of making false statements to the FBI and was unable to reach a verdict on the more serious counts, like the charge he tried to sell an appointment to the seat vacated by Barack Obama when he became president.
Prosecutors have vowed to retry Blagojevich.
Interviewed on "Fox News Sunday," Blagojevich said, "In the second round, we're going to call witnesses like (White House chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel, Senator Harry Reid, Senator (Robert) Menendez, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., Congressman (Jerry) Costello, and a host of other leading Democrats who were involved in this process to try to make a decision on who the next senator should be."
Menendez is chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Costello represents a district in southern Illinois. Jackson, a Chicago congressman, was said to be interested in the open Senate seat. Jackson supporters were reported to have spoken of plans
to raise at least $1 million in campaign money for Blagojevich but Jackson has vigorously denied any knowledge of that.
Read Lynn Sweet on the Blagojevich verdict -- Rod Blagojevich Convicted for Coverup, Not the Crime -- and Andrew Cohen on The Blagojevich Trial: Layers of Meaning to the Non-Verdict Verdict.
The "Fox News Sunday" host, Chris Wallace, reminded Blagojevich that he had said he would call these witnesses for the first trial as well as testify in his own behalf, but had not done either.
Blagojevich said, "I intended to testify and we intended to call all those people," but claimed the decision not to do so "was based upon the fact that the government's case was so flimsy and weak . . . we made the right decision. The government failed to prove their case."
Jurors interviewed by The New York Times
after the trial complained about the complexity and highly technical nature of the case put before them.
Blagojevich was asked about his comment last week
that he could pull off a political comeback like former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who lost re-election after leading Britain through World War II then regained office in 1951.
"You compared yourself to Winston Churchill," Wallace said. "You can't be serious."
"You're right, I'm not serious," Blagojevich said. "I don't smoke cigars or scotch, and I think I can run faster than him."
But he added: "If you're asking me, do I believe there's a potential political comeback in the future when I'm vindicated in this case, absolutely I do."