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.
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."
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.
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.
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 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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has just arrived at the Dirksen Federal building.
He is expected to testify in the Rod Blagojevich trial.
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 been called by the defense to take the stand in the retrial of Rod Blagojevich.
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.
Newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel has just been called to the stand by the Blagojevich Defense team.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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".