Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Blago's lawyers: Evidence will take 51 years to get through

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Blago's lawyers said today it would take one lawyer 51 years to get through all the evidence the feds have turned over against the former governor.
In a filing where defense lawyers for Rod Blagojevich say they'll accept $110-hour pay (as this blog reported here earlier this week) they tell a judge they've received 1 million pages of documents and 400 hours of tapes. The filing also reveals that due to grand jury subpoenas, the Office of the Governor "has provided approximately 2 million documents to the government." Those 2 million documents are in the hands of Winston & Strawn, Blago's previous lawyers, according to the filing.
This comes after Judge Zagel said he would decide how many lawyers should be appointed to the case, in part, based on how much evidence there is.
Attorneys Michael Ettinger and Sheldon Sorosky asked Zagel to appoint a
"sufficient number of attorneys so that the massive amount of discovery can be read and the tapes can be digested within a reasonable amount of time and Defendant Rod Blagojevich be afforded effective assistance of counsel."
This blog reported earlier this week that the defense would give up its claim on the $2.3 million fund and instead allow Zagel authority to dole it out to them for attorneys fees -- at $110 an hour.
That is, until it runs out. Then the lawyers would be paid through taxpayer funds.
The judge has this kind of control because Blagojevich says he doesn't have money to fund his defense.
Prosecutors opposed the defense having complete control over the campaign fund, saying it was subject to government seizure. They asked Zagel for limitations on how defense lawyers would be paid and how many of them would be paid through the fund.
There's a hearing in the case Monday.

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TrackBack URL: http://blogs.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/22518

The ex-gov's lawyers will be in court today to ask a judge how many of them he will appoint to attack 3 million pages of discovery and at least 400 hours of audio tape. On Friday, Blagojevich's lawyers said it... Read More

BY NATASHA KORECKI Staff Reporter Saying it was more lawyers that he's ever appointed to a case, U.S. District Judge James Zagel agreed this morning to let ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich have three lawyers for trial and additional lawyers on... Read More

Prosecutors say the evidence they've turned over to defendants in the Blagojevich case is actually pretty manageable. That's in response to all the griping from defense lawyers that the mountain of evidence turned over by the government would take 51... Read More

20 Comments

The problem here is that the lawyers are looking for ways to delay the case because (1) delay helps Blago, especially if he never has to go to trial; and (2) the longer it takes, the more the lawyers get paid because of the hourly rate. The prosecutors should have tried to set a total, fixed fee for Blago's use of frozen assets, rather than an hourly rate -then the lawyers would have had an incentive to complete the case in as little time as possible, to earn more money by working less for the total fixed sum. Also, the case could be expedited by focusing on what documents or tapes are likely to be used by the prosecutor to prove what is alleged in the indictment. Obviously, the grand jury didn't read every document or listen to every second of tape. It is also very unlikely that there is the "exculpatory non-smoking gun." It is expeditious, therefore, to focus on what the prosecutor claims is the "smoking gun" and try to discredit it, as well as focus on the potential witnesses, rather than documents. Another beautiful thing likely to fall apart here is Blago's claim that he wasn't allowed to call witnesses for himself. Supposedly, these are people that he didn't try to get money from; like Obama, Emanuel, etc. This is like trying to get the guy that lives under the bridge to testify that Blago didn't try to get money from him. So what! What about those he did try to get money from?!

perhaps to save money and expedite 2 trials, the government could
have a gladiator type tournament between Drew and Blago. The winner gets to (a) deal with the citizens of IL as to his wrongdoing or (b) deal with the families of wives 3 and 4 in a private setting.

the loser of course will be dealing with the ultimate judge.

Why can't paralegals also be used to review documents? Do all documents HAVE to be reviewed ONLY by an attorney? That could cut the cost of the review process.

It's one thing to be in denial, it's another when you have such an impact on millions of peoples lives.

All I know is it'll be the peoples of Illinois justice when this man has his due laid on him.

Time for the Big Top to come down on this clowns travelling circus.

Oh, and hopefully there's room in the Main Ring for Drew Peterson.

The judge will set a trial date & Blago's lawyers had better work hard and be ready by that date-or else Blogo will suffer.

Regardless of the guilt or innocence of Blago, the prosecutors are indulging in shameless paper-hanging. 2 million docs tendered to Winston? Another million pages and 400 tapes to Blago's current attorneys? Isn't there some legal procedure, an evidentiary hearing or something, to make the prosecution show how they are going to use each doc, to winnow down to the ones that will actually be used to prove their case? I can't believe that they honestly think they will present 2 million docs or 400 tapes to a jury. Conclusion: they are trying to bury the defense attorneys under a mountain of paper.

It is good that the defense will only be able to receive limited access to the campaign cash. I am wondering if they will do a good job representing him for 110.00 an hour opposed to a much higher rate. It will also be interesting to see how much John Harris and others will sing to the Feds; not only about Blagojevich, but with Daley as well.

The Government and defense team should utilize a team of law school students to review the documents. This would be an outstanding way for he Government to save money and for eager law school students to assist with a major trial. If I was a defense attorney, I would love to have a team of hungry law school students sifting through millions of documents looking for clues… Best yet, it would be free!

I know he's guilty, you know he's guilty, we all know he's effen guilty....yet we as taxpayers are forced to go through the sharade of making sure he gets a fair trial, go through a lengthy court process, and burn all of this taxpayer money to support this rogue. Where is the justice in this?? This case is an attorney's employment contract as lawyers salivate as to how they can bilk this case for all the loot they can. Where is the benefit to the taxpayers here??

Our court system with its costs and its inefficency makes vigilante justice look downright appealing. The public is going to have to go through this whole sharade again with Drew Peterson and Bernie Madoff too...and when these jokers drag out their cases and get off on some legal technicality, where will the justice be then?? This system is broken and needs to be fixed.

If we take this story literally, Blago will be 103 years old before he's ready to go to trial. That's extreme, but seeing how slowly the George Ryan case progressed -- he was indicted in 2003, tried in 2006 and didn't go to prison until late 2007 for crimes committed more than a decade before -- I wouldn't be surprised to see Blago's famous mop turn gray before he ever sees the inside of a jail cell.

First off, the numbers the attorney are throwing out there are not real. It's his worst case scenario. Electronic discovery is such today that you scan all the files or take current electronic files, and then run keyword searches on the docs looking for relevant information, and then you put eyeballs on those documents. You do not need to look at every document. You put a team of document reviewers on it and its done within a year for far less than $2million.

First off, the numbers the attorney are throwing out there are not real. It's his worst case scenario. Electronic discovery is such today that you scan all the files or take current electronic files, and then run keyword searches on the docs looking for relevant information, and then you put eyeballs on those documents. You do not need to look at every document. You put a team of document reviewers on it and its done within a year for far less than $2million.

First off, the numbers the attorney are throwing out there are not real. It's his worst case scenario. Electronic discovery is such today that you scan all the files or take current electronic files, and then run keyword searches on the docs looking for relevant information, and then you put eyeballs on those documents. You do not need to look at every document. You put a team of document reviewers on it and its done within a year for far less than $2million.

Isn't it wonderful that politicians are afforded the best treatment when they're accused of a crime. The law is supposed to apply equally to everyone. One public defender and that's it. Oh, no that wouldn't be right. He's such an upstanding member of the community and innocent until proven guilty in a court of law!!!

What garbage we taxpayers are forced to swallow!!!

The lawmakers in this country have got a perfect system in place for stealing from the taxpaying public. Just make a ridiculous claim like the one they're perpetrating. They have no shame whatsoever.

By my calculations they believe they're representation is worth: Let's see, 51 years x 52 weeks = 2652 x 40 hours per week = 106,080 Hours x $110 per hour = $11,668,800 plus tax.

So what these theives (THAT'S WHAT THESE GUYS ARE) think they should be paid is this enormous sum of money from the good old taxpayer.

If they tried stealing that money from a bank vault they would be shot on sight. But when you use the kind of rules that the lawmakers create, they get to stuff their pockets FULL of YOUR cash and whistle all the way to the bank!!!!

What a perfect scam they have on the working men and women of this country! It's positively sickening!!!!!

It's not about having a "legal dream team", rather it is about having adequate legal representation. As the defense counsel noted, it is impossible for a single attorney to wade through the thousands of pages of documents and hundreds of hours of tapes.

Without a sufficient number of attorneys to defend him, the former govenor could appeal any prosecution on the grounds of inadquate legal counsel.

If it makes you feel better, the Federal (and not State) government will pay for the portion of his legal expenses that he cannot afford (there are many more US taxpayers then Illinois taxpayers).

The United States is going to have to pay the tab because otherwise there is no way he could get a fair trial. "Normal destitute people get a single public defender" because "normal" cases don't have up to three million documents and 400 hours of tape to review.

What happens if the hypothetical key exculpatory document is at page 2,900,000 of the document production? According to this story, the ex-guv will find it while sitting in his cell in May 2060.

it seems curious that an overwhelming amount of evidance AGAINST someone would be a boon to their defense. the man already refused representation on being charged now he wants extra representation durning prosecution.
it is insane to think that he would be entitled to something that I, had I been the defendent, am not. I hope the judge throws out the request.

It's important to keep in mind that an indicted person is innocent until provent guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This system of justice is intended to protect you and me, as well as Blago, from the enormous power of the federal/state government. Because Blago is innocent until provent guilty, he is afforded the same rights as you and me with regard to a public defender (paid by the public). If you take this right away from Blago, you begin to eviserate certain freedoms that both you and I enjoy.

And that's the same reasoning prosecutors have put forth. It was prosecutors who first suggested that the defense get only limited access to the campaign cash. That means, instead of being able to charge upwards of $500 an hour, the lawyers will be paid $110 an hour -- the same rate as public defenders.

Please explain why the state is going to have to pay the tab for this joker? Normal destitute people get a single public defender at most, and that is it. There is no requirement that someone be given a legal dream team just because the Feds are after him.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on May 8, 2009 9:46 AM.

Government seeks to file Cellini papers under seal was the previous entry in this blog.

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