The jury deciding the fate of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has reached a verdict on 18 of 20 counts, Judge James Zagel just announced in court.
"The jury has come to a unanimous decision on 18 of 20 counts ... We are confident that we will not able to come to agreement on the two counts even with further deliberation," the note from the jury read.
Jurors in the trial of Rod Blagojevich have gone home
after the 9th day of deliberations. They
will return Monday at 9am.
Court security guards were spotted bringing pizza to the 25th floor of the federal courthouse today presumably for the Blagojevich jurors.
The jury is now into their 9th day of deliberations.
No sign of a verdict.
The jury in the case of Rod Blagojevich has asked for clarification regarding a portion of the jury instructions that pertain to wire fraud.
After consulting with the attorney's, the judge has sent back a note to the jurors stating, "I ask you to take another look at the relevant instructions. After you have done so, if you think it is necessary, I ask you to state which specific phrases in the third proposition you believe need clarification."
The judge then told attorney's not to go far in case this needs followup.
Yesterday it was the game Banana Grams, today it's video of talking dogs.
When not reviewing Blagojevich trial information, this is how the members of the media spend their time at the courthouse waiting on a verdict.
The jury has begun deliberating for the fourth day.
Yesterday they sent a question to the judge about missing pages from a phone transcript.
While the 11 women and one man jury are hard at work deciding the case of ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich, the defendant tells his lawyers he is simply trying not to think about the deliberations.
This is the 4th day jurors have toiled over the case. While they sweat over the voluminous documents and secretly recorded FBI phone calls, Rod Blagojevich is sweating, too. He goes for a jog everyday to distract himself from the case. He is reading a book about President Truman and he is calling his lawyers a lot. The man accused talking too much, keeps his record in tact by phoning his legal team constantly.
The jurors in the re-trial of Rod Blagojevich are deliberating for the third day and have been quiet thus far.
The judge has not received any questions from the jury.
Last Friday jurors told the judge they plan to deliberate Monday thru Thursday till 4 p.m.
They indicated if they found themselves close to a verdict they would stay late.
The jurors have gone home for the day in the trial of Rod Blagojevich. They will return tomorrow morning to begin their 3rd day of deliberations.
Juror 132 in the Blagojevich trial has now been placed as an alternate and juror 181 has been bumped to the main 12.
Reason is currently unknown.
Juror 132 has not been excused.
Judge Zagel has denied a motion for mistrial filed by the
Blagojevich defense team.
The 25 page motion noted several reasons including the exclusion of many FBI recordings as well as claims the ex-governor did not receive a fair trial.
Attorney Lauren Kaeseberg told the judge "we believe we are fighting for his life."
The jurors in the case of Rod Blagojevich have told the judge they have selected a foreman and have decided on a work schedule.
Judge James Zagel is now hearing motions for mistrial filed by the defense.
The first day of jury deliberations began mid morning in the retrial of former Governor Blagojevich.
Reid Schar finished the rebuttal portion of closing arguments at 3:45. Judge James Zagel is reading jury instructions to the jury now.
Reid Schar (Prosecutor) : "Defense would have you believe that you (jurors) have been victims of one of the largest government frame ups."
Referring to excuses for crimes Blagojevich allegedly committed Shar said Blagojevich is, "making it up as he goes along."
The Blagojevich defense has referred to lobbyist and one time friend of the ex gov, John Wyma as "Mr. Immunity."
Aaron Goldstein says Wyma only became interested in cooperating with the government after he received a subpoena on another matter.
Another witness Gerry Krozel initially told the feds he felt no pressure to donate campaign funds. Goldstein says Krozel changed his mind after agents showed up at his door and he felt "terrified."
Closing arguments picked up this afternoon with the defense talking about the school grant for Chicago Academy.
Goldstein has told the jury that Rahm Emanuel's brother never held a fundraiser for Blagojevich and if there were in fact an attempted shakedown in exchange for the grant Rahm Emanuel certainly didn't seem bothered by it, saying Rahm continued to call the governor for favors.
"This isn't a man who had an adverse relationship with Rod...because nothing happened," said Goldstein.
Closing arguments in the trial of Rod Blagojevich got off to a late start this morning.
Shortly after 10 a.m. prosecutor Carrie Hamilton picked up where she left off on the Senate seat explaining to the jurors specifically what the crime and the law is.
The case is expected to go to the jury by the end of the day.
Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton has now moved to the alleged racetrack shakedown in the Blagojevich re-trial, but her theme remains the same telling jurors "the crime is the corruption process."
Hamilton has told the jury there is only one question they need to ask no matter what the charges, "was he trying to get something of value in exchange for state action?"
In what may be an attempt to simplify the process for jurors, Hamilton has handpicked calls for each count suggesting the jury listen to them.
Also related to the alleged racetrack shakedown, Carrie Hamilton told the jury:
"He (Blagojevich) lied. He got caught. He lied because he thought he could get away with it. It's my my word against Gerry's (Krozel). They'll believe me."
To that, sitting at the defense table, Blagojevich raised his eyebrows looking surprised by her remarks. She said 6 witnesses contradict Blagojevich's version of the racetrack story.
Hamilton is now speaking about the Chicago Academy High School grant. Prosecutors conted Rod Blagojevich allegedly held back the $2 million grant while waiting to see if Rahm Emanuel would ask his Hollywood agent brother to hold a fundraiser for him. Hamilton said Blagojevich's defense that he couldn't remember which of two grants they were talking about were "made up.".
Challenging Blagojevich's memory on the stand, Hamilton said:
"When he thinks it will hurt him, he doesn't remember details. When he thinks it will help, he remembers a lot of them."
Defense attorney Aaron Goldstein has begun his closing argument in the re-trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Goldstein began by telling jurors "he didn't get a dime, a nickel , a penny or campaign contributions! Nothing."
Goldstein is asking the jury to consider why so many witnesses have immunity or a plea deal. Goldstein asked why anyone should believe former Chief of Staff Lon Monk who admittedly took over $70 thousand in cash from Tony Rezko and called it a gift. "What makes it a gift?" Goldstein yelled, "Did they put a red bow on it?"
The defense has rested their case in the trial of Rod Blagojevich.
The re-trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich is nearing the end.
Prosecutors spent the morning putting on a rebuttal case.
They will begin closing arguments this afternoon.
Judge James Zagel says he will allow each side up to four hours.
Former Congressman Bill Lipinski has been called to the stand by the defense in the re-trial of Rod Blagojevich.
Jesse Jackson Jr. previously testified that "Lipinski, had asked Jackson for a $25 thousand contribution. "Did you ask Congressman Jackson for a $25 thousand contribution to help Blagojevich's campaign fund." "No sir," said Lipinski.
Prosecutors just finished cross-examination of former Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich.
Rod Blagojevich has taken the stand for the seventh day and the topic is now the tollway.
Prosecutors contend that Blagojevich pressured road builder Gerry Krozel for fundraising and was holding back a $6 billion project until he did so.
Today on the stand Blagojevich acknowledged that Krozel hadn't raised any money as promised by end of 2008 but insisted that the reason he wasn't for the $6 billion road project had to do with wanting a broader capitol bill not Krozels lack of fundraising.
The former governor said he never gave up "hope" that Krozel would come thru.
The prosecutors have finally landed on the topic off Jesse Jackson Jr.
Prosecutor Reid Schar has asked Blagojevich about the alleged $1.5 million offer from Jackson representatives to the Blagojevich campaign fund in exchange for appointing Jackson to the Senate seat. "What they were offering were bribes," said Schar.
Blagojevich who refused to call it a bribe eventually answered, "Whatever it is it's illegal. You can't do it."
Prosecutors have left the senate seat topic and have moved on to the school grants and the alleged racetrack shakedown.
There have been less fireworks today between Rod Blagojevich and prosecutor Reid Schar, but the prosecution is still working to paint Blagojevich as a liar.
Under direct testimony Blagojevich had stated he wanted to personally review a racetrack bill for "poison pill" language before signing. Today, under cross Blagojevich admitted that he may not have planned to read the bill himself.
When Schar asked "Were you going to personally review the bill or not?" Blagojevich answered, "I guess we'll never know because you didn't let me do it," referring to his December 2008 arrest.
As Rod Blagojevich prepares to be cross examined by federal prosecutors for a second day, people of all ages are lined up outside the courthouse to witness this historic event including a recent group of Deerfield High school graduates who are considering entering the field of law.
A much calmer Rod Blagojevich has taken the stand this morning as he undergoes a second day of cross-examination by prosecutor Reid Schar. Wasting no time, Schar went right to the topic of the Senate seat. "Is it a fact you communicated you would trade the Senate seat for Health and Human Services?",Schar asked. Blagojevich replied "No."
The government is jumping from FBI call to call with little attention to chronology. Schar putting a fine point on the Senate seat allegation. Trying to trip up Blagojevich and hold him to his words, the defendant resisted answering with a single "yes" or no" when asked questions like:
"Did you have any intention of suggesting that you would trade the Senate seat for a 501(c) 4?"
This is a non-profit the government claims Blagojevich was trying to get in exchange for giving Barack Obama insider, Valerie Jarrett, the soon to be vacant US Senate seat.
Blago back on the stand.
Not a word between lawyers and the judge before the jury entered the room. A surprise after yesterday's discord between judge and the defense.
Direct examination continues and Blagojevich is looking better, fresher than Wednesday. By the end of the day, he was stuttering, hesitating when going through FBI phone call after phone call. The judge said his behavior and answers may have been by design to confuse the jury.
Today, the defendant's answers are, so far, short and to the point with little digression or hesitation.
Rod Blagojevich continues with the theme this morning that he was floating all kinds of ideas when it came to an appointment of the U.S. Senate seat.
Blagojevich has repeatedly said he entertained the good, bad and the ugly. At one point Blagojevich discussed with his chief of staff appointing one of his deputy governors to the seat. Admitting it was "unconventional" and described the conversation as a "manic brainstorming discussion."
Blagojevich chokes up on the stand when he talks about his family's finances. In late November 2008, he wasn't feeling good about it and was looking to get out of politics to make some money, but looking for a way back in down the road. Holding back tears, blago told the jury:
"I'd made my family vulnerable...and I'd made my wife and children vulnerable. I felt guilty about that."
His wife, Patti, smiled subtly from the front row of the gallery.
Rod Blagojevich said he considered Lisa Madigan a potential candidate for the senate seat, but only if he could get his agenda passed in the Illinois legislature without her father Mike Madigan blocking.
In November 2008 Blagojevich and Mike Madigan were not on speaking terms. Blagojevich said he had a pre-conditioned list including healthcare expansion and a capitol bill.
Although Blagojevich said Lisa Madigan was elevated on the list of candidates he still considered himself. Attorney Aaron Goldstein asked the ex-governor, "did you discuss appointing yourself and going to Afghanistan to find Osama Bin Laden?" Blagojevich answered, "yes."
A very angry judge called for a court recess this morning in the trial of Rod Blagojevich after the former governor referred to a redacted portion of a transcript from a November 2008 wire tap conversation, for a second time leaving the implication that prosecutors had left out relevant parts of the conversation.
Judge Zagel admonished both Blagojevich and his attorney's saying "this is a repeated example of a defendant who wants to say something by smuggling it in.This is not right."
He then instructed Blagojevich to stop and then asked the defense, "do you understand what I've just said?". Attorney Lauren Kaeseberg answered "yes."
Rod Blagojevich said Lisa Madigan was a potential candidate for the U.S. Senate seat. Blagojevich admitted to weighing the pros and cons if he appointed her, saying things could get worse between him and Mike Madigan if he didn't appoint her.
He then said all kinds of things were "swirling" around him including impeachment by the "Madigoons." Once again expressing his dislike for Mike Madigan.
Judge James Zagel has told Blagojevich's attorney's he expects them to "complete this direct by the end of the day," saying it was becoming "repetitive."
Rod Blagojevich's defense team has to re-work their line of questioning this morning after Judge James Zagel barred any mention of what the former governor thought to be legal.
"Opinions about the legality of something is out," said Zagel.
Outside the presence of the jury Blagojevich's defense asked Blagojevich "did you honestly believe what you were doing was legal?". Blagojevich said, "yes I did."
Audio problems just 5 minutes into testimony and the jury was dismissed for a short recess.
The defendant's microphone was turning on and off for what appeared to be no reason.
The court security guard solved the problem quickly-Blagojevich's binder was resting on top of the on and off switch.
When the jury was re-seated in court, Blagojevich said, "I misspoke. Evidently it was my fault."
Before the jury had been excused, with a grin on his face, Blagojevich told the group of 17 jurors that the microphone issue was not his fault.
Also, it's confirmed--juror #125 has been excused from the trial. Lawyers won't say why. The judge didn't even address it in open court.
Before proceedings began after break this morning, Defense attorney Lauren Kaeseberg told the judge there has been "animated discussions and faces that went on" at the governments table and the defense team is concerned the impact this could have on the jury.
Judge Zagel said he had not witnessed anything.
Prosecutor Reid Schar said they would be "mindful" of these actions.
Defense Attorney Aaron Goldstein has now switched to the topic of Childrens Memorial Hospital.
Goldstein began with a series of questions that included "did you ever hold up this pediatric rate increase in order to get a fundraiser?" Blagojevich answered "no".
Testimony has ended for the day. Trial will resume at Tuesday 9:30 a.m.
Defense attorney's say they plan to finish with Rod Blagojevich possibly Wednesday or Thursday of next week.
Former Governor Rod Blagojevich has just taken the stand to begin his second day of testimony.
We are delving into issues related to the Illinois legislature. Blagojevich referred to his longtime nemesis, Mike Madigan, as "Crafty. Good at what he does."
Blagojevich said his entire time as Governor, he had to be leary of the "poison pill language" that Madigan would sneak into legislative bills that Blagojevich wanted to pass. The language, according to the defendant, would often take away things the Blago administration may have accomplished.
"Madigan Shenanigans". That's what Rod Blagojevich was concerned about when he was reviewing bills that were waiting to be signed. Blagojevich has not been quiet about his dislike for Illinois Speaker Mike Madigan and has blamed the mistrust between the two as the reason for the delays in signing of a racetrack bill.
Blagojevich has testified that he never tried to shakedown racetrack owner John Johnston, but grew concerned that he hadn't received a campaign contribution that had been promised by Johnston, in part because Johnston had contributed in the past and it was nearing the end of the year. Blagojevich claimed he wanted the contribution by the end of the year for state reporting purposes. Prosecutors allege it was to beat a new ethics law that would cap campaign contributions effective Jan 2009.
Defendant Blagojevich just entered the building.
Today he brought his wife and his oldest daughter Amy. It's her first appearance in the retrial.
Former Governor Rod Blagojevich has taken the witness stand in his own defense.
After stating his name, Rod Blagojevich told the court. "I used to be the governor. I'm here today and I'm here to tell the truth."
Blagojevich took the stand giving background on who he is, how he grew up, where he grew up. He fancied himself a good basketball player who wanted to play in the NBA, but was a lousy little league player. He's giving jurors a window onto the boy who became a man and Illinois' governor. In summary, Blagojevich's story goes like this: His upbringing was modest, he worked hard, and faced tough decisions even as a boy/teen. Decisions that made him the man he says he is today.
He is often answering softball questions about himself by addressing the jury with eye contact. Patti Blagojevich is sitting in the front row of the gallery grinning through each and every story as though she is taking a stroll down memory lane herself.
The ex-Governor choked up when he told the jury how his dad, in his 60's, went to go work on the Alaskan pipeline to put Rod through college.
While jurors are listening intently to Blago's storytelling, they are not taking one note.
Apologizing to the jury and the public for his excessivge profanity found on so many FBI recordings, he said:
"When I hear myself swearing, those f'in golden tapes, like that...I'm an f'in jerk."
The jury in the Rod Blagojevich trial has largely remained stoic as the former governor has tried to be funny and lighthearted telling stories about his polyester pants in the disco era and how he once worked for Helene Curtis and received a lot of shampoo.
He frequently looks to the jury for a response but most of the laughter has come from the gallery not the jury box.
When applying to law schools, Blago scored well under the 50th percentile. He even applied to Harvard and raised his hand to Judge Zagel. Zagel is a Harvard grad. The judge did not react.
Blagojevich bragged about his marathon time. His time was so good that in 1984, he claims he would have beat the 1908 world record.
After almost 90 minutes of long story telling, the prosecution objected for the first time- saying the lengthy elaboration was over the top. The judge agreed.
The story telling from the witness stand is taking up about 98% of the time. Questions are short. Answers are long and emotional, peppered with laughter and at times tears.
Blagojevich took the bar twice. Flunked it miserably first time. Passed the 2nd time.
He has painted a picture of himself as an insecure, ashamed young man who was failing law school when he met Lon Monk in college.
Although Monk has testified for the prosecution, Blagojevich says he still loves his friend.
Blagojevich has rambled quite a bit but one thing that has not gotten lost is his love for celebrities. At every chance he gets he talks of celebrity encounters. Including the first time he met Ryne Sandberg and spotting Olivia Newton-John running in Malibu.
As of late morning, jurors have yet to hear anything pertaining directly to the case.
1:50 p.m. Rod is back on the stand. He's talking about Patti and meeting/dating/marrying her. He bought her a $5,000 ring from Marshall Fields.
Lon Monk stood up in their wedding. Jury just saw a picture of Rod and Lon during happier times, shaking hands at Blago's wedding.
It may feel more like a cold October day but that hasn't stopped people from heading to the Dirksen Federal building hoping to witness Rod Blagojevich's expected testimony today.
About 30 people made of both spectators and media lined up outside the courthouse at 4 a.m.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel was called to the stand today by the Blagojevich defense team.
Shortly after being sworn in, defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky asked Emanuel if it was safe to say his job as mayor is a new one.
Emanuel appearing less than thrilled to be there told Sorosky "unless your subscription to the newspaper has ended recently..yes."
Emanuel was off the stand inless than 5 minutes.
Newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel has just been called to the stand by the Blagojevich Defense team.
The congressman said, on the stand, that he did not offer or direct someone else to offer money to get the Senate seat.
While that issue may have been cleared up for the jury, another bomb went off when Jesse Jackson Jr. said he delivered his wife's resume to Tony Rezko back in 2003 after Blago took office.
Months earlier, Jackson had been asked by Congressman Bill Lipinski to donate $25,000 to Blago's campaign. An effort to get a Democrat in the governor's mansion. He didn't donate.
Blago appointed someone else to the job Rezko indicated Sandi Jackson would be good for.
Six months later, when Jackson saw Blago in DC, Jackson told the jury:
Blagojevich said, "I'm sorry the thing with Sandi didn't work out."
Then, Jackson told the jury:
"In classic Elvis fashion, he (blago) snapped his fingers and said, "you should've given me that $25,000."
A damaging story that has never been shared with the jury before.
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has just been called by the defense to take the stand in the retrial of Rod Blagojevich.
The defense team is moments away from presenting their case in the re trial of Rod Blagojevich.
For the first time this trial, dozens of court spectators arrived and were waiting in line before the building opened.
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was spotted on the 25th floor waiting to be called by the defense.
Jesse had trouble finding Blagojevich in the courtroom when asked to identify him. Blago got red and waved from the center of the room. Everybody laughed including Jesse Jackson Jr. Judge did not react..
Among the spectators is ex-jury foreman James Matsumoto.
Matsumoto told WGN News he is interested in hearing the defense since one was not presented when he sat as a juror.
Matsumoto also said he would have like to have heard from Congressman Jackson in the first trial.
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has just arrived at the Dirksen Federal building.
He is expected to testify in the Rod Blagojevich trial.
An impossible to miss posting inside the 2nd floor mens room at the Dirksen Federal Building.
As the prosecution winds down their case against Rod Blagojevich, witness Dr. Donald Feinstein has taken the stand this morning to discuss a $2 million grant that was awarded to Chicago Academy High School in 2005 by the state.
Feinstein who was overseeing the project for a new athletic field says the bills "began to pile up" by late summer of 2006.
Prosecutors have alleged that Blagojevich was withholding the grant until Rahm Emanuel's brother Ari a hollywood agent, held a fundraiser for him.
Rahm Emanuel was the Congressman for the 5th district and had helped secure the grant.
Under cross examination defense attorney's tried to point out that Feinstein never dealt with Blagojevich or his Chief of Staff John Harris but rather other state employees.
Hoping to discredit prosecution witness Lon Monk, Rod
Blagojevich's defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky focused his cross this morning
on the 70 to 90 thousand dollars in cash Monk received from businessman Tony
Rezko beginning in May of 2004.
Monk admitted to not telling the Governor he was taking the money even though they were friends and spoke daily, saying the Governor "wouldn't have approved of the method." Monk also admitted lying about the cash to the FBI during a 2005 interview. Sorosky asked "after he (the governor) was charged, you related it to the government." Monk replied, "yes."
The former CEO of a construction company has testified that he feared not being awarded the remaining work of a three phase road building project if he did not raise funds for former-Governor Blagojevich.
Gerry Krozel who has an immunity agreement with the government testified that Blagojevich wanted him to fundraise before the ethics bill took effect in January 2009 which would cap contributions.
Under cross examination, Krozel admitted lying to the FBI in December of 2009 when agents came to his home and asked him if he felt pressured to fundraise for Blagojevich.
Witness #7, Jon Wyma , is off the stand.
Lawyers for the ex-governor repeatedly tried to cloud his credibility.
In doing so, the judge said Blagojevich's lawyer, Sheldon Sorosky, was attempting to mislead the jury and was putting the government on trial.
John Magoon, a hospital executive, is expected to take the stand next.
A longtime Blagojevich supporter and fundraiser Rajinder Bedi has taken the stand.
Bedi has testified that another supporter, Raghu Nayak, had offered to raise money for the Blagojevich campaign if Jesse Jackson Jr. was appointed to the Senate seat.
Bedi is testifying under immunity.
Former Deputy Governor and Political Consultant Doug Scofield has taken the stand in the retrial of Rod Blagojevich.
Scofield has testified that in a November 2008 conversation he had with Blagojevich, it was clear he was willing to trade his appointment for U.S. Senate seat for a cabinet position.
Prosecutors played a recording where Blagojevich is heard telling Scofield "I've got this thing and it's bleeping golden."
Cross examination began this morning of the former governor's Chief of Staff John Harris.
Defense attorney Aaron Goldstein pointed out to the jury that Harris' plea agreement with the government could land him zero jail time if he cooperates fully with the government.
He also got Harris to admit that he had lied to the FBI during his first interview with agents but the nature of that discussion was not disclosed.
Former Chief of Staff John Harris testified today.
He stated that he did not deliver a message to then Senate President, Emil Jones, that Rod Blagojevich would like the Senators campaign warchest in exchange for the U.S. Senate seat which Jones was interested.
Harris did meet with Jones to discuss the seat, but in a follow up phone call with the former governor, Harris exaggerated the conversation and made it appear as if he had inquired about the money.
John Harris continued his testimony on the stand this morning.
Prosecutors played yet another recording of Harris and Blagojevich discussing various ways to ask the Obama people for an appointment in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to the Senate seat.
Shortly after the wire tap was played, testimony was temporarily halted when a voice over a phone line in the courtroom repeatedly asked, "Hello? Hello?" -no less than a dozen times.
Laughter broke out in the courtroom and the judge called for a break presumably to fix the problem.
The re-trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich picked up this morning at 10 a.m. with FBI agent Dan Cain taking the stand.
Cain is the first witness and testified he began to focus his investigation on the governor after a witness came forward claiming Blagojevich was involved in "criminal activities."
Defense attorney's filed a motion this morning asking the court to scrap jury selection and start the process over.
Blagojevich's defense team cited an incident last week where a juror spoke to media after being dismissed.
The woman, who was the first to be questioned by the judge, told a reporter that people were talking about the case even after being instructed not to.
She also said that some of the potential jurors expressed their opinion of his guilt after being questioned.
Jury selection continues this afternoon in Rod Blagojevich's retrial.
This morning a dozen people were questioned and asked if they believe they could be fair in this case. One juror said he believed he had the ability to be fair.
After further questioning, he revealed to the court that he did download the now famous "I've got this thing and it's bleeping golden" audio quote from a Web site and uses it as his cell phone ring tone.
The former jury foreman of Rod Blagojevich's first trial made an appearance in court today.
James Matsumoto told WGN that he feels there is "unfinished business" and wants to see the juror selection process firsthand.
He also said he would advise the jurors to speak to the media afterward and understands the curiousity surrounding the case.
Matsumoto says he plans to attend the trial periodically.
Day two of jury selection is underway in the second trial for former Governor Rod Blagojevich.
This time with much less fanfare.
The governor said "hello" to reporters just outside the courtroom but it would appear that public interest has waned at least where jury selection is concerned.
Where it was once difficult to get a seat there is now plenty of room in the courtroom.
Jury selection continued this afternoon with a handful of jurors saying based on the last trial and media accounts they believe Rod Blagojevich is guilty.
One potential juror told Judge Zagel he "got away with it."
Another stated on a questionnaire, that every chance he gets he says he will testify and told the judge that "in this trial if he didn't testify it would be somewhere in my mind."
Jury selection is underway in the corruption trial of former Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich.
So far, three people been selected.
1.) A Caucasian female who works in radio promotions
2.) An African American retired forklift operator who said, "everybody(on trial) is guilty" - he lost a son in 1981 and the killer got probation.
3.) An African American woman who is worried about how the length and timing of the trial might affect her income. She works nights.
At least one potential juror admitted to Judge Zagel that he does not hold the defendant in high regard, but still believes he can be a fair juror.
A low key entrance to the courtroom today for Rod Blagojevich who this time was playing to a much smaller audience mainly consisting of reporters.
Ex-governor Blagojevich stopped to chat with a TV sketch artist who was holding a portait of Blagojevich.Continue reading Blagojevich makes first appearance at retrial »
Voir dire is expected to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday. Blagojevich will be there. This jury selection process will take several days and takes place in open court.
Opening statements are anticipated to begin next Wednesday.
There is no court this Friday.
The questionnaire is reportedly 38 pages long and consists of 70-80 questions.
It will be released to us, the media, after the jury is seated.
Julie Unruh will be LIVE at Dirksen Federal at 5 p.m. today - catch her full report then.
Tomorrow is the big day.
Prosecutors were clearly irritated with Rod Blagojevich this morning for statements he made on a morning newcast. Prosecutor Reid Schar called the former governor's comments a "complete fabrication" and asked the court for a remedy.
Schar stated that Blagojevich's recent comments alleging the judge has no descretion to change the orders and placing blame on prosecutors for not releasing all the tapes along with his recent public tour is "part of an attempt to poison what is going on." Presumably the potential jurors.