The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has set a schedule to hear out a request by Rod Blagojevich to delay his June 3 trial until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the honest services statute.
But the panel has not made a call yet on whether the June 3rd trial date will move.
The high court's ruling on honest services is likely to come by the end of June.
Defense lawyers for Rod and Robert Blagojevich say that's too late.
They need to know the law by the beginning of trial, they say.
U.S. District Judge James Zagel has ruled the trial will begin June 3rd, regardless of whether the supreme court strikes down a law that both Blagojevich brothers are accused of violating.
The defense is appealing, saying their client's constitutional rights are being violated. Prosecutors are asking that the appeal be denied as "frivolous."
The 7th Circuit today issued a briefing schedule that includes a date after June 3rd. But there's no official ruling on an actual trial delay.
In the meantime, the government has entered a number of filings in response to the defense's Friday bid, citing a case that says an appeal should be heard only in "extraordinary circumstances."
"I respectfully disagree," said Michael Ettinger, a lawyer for Robert Blagojevich. "This is
an extraordinary circumstance."
Sam Adam Jr. one of Rod Blagojevich's lawyers, said if the 7th Circuit doesn't allow for a trial delay, they'll appeal to the supreme court.
"We have faith in the 7th Circuit. We believe they realize how important it is that criminal defendants know what they are charged with before they pick a jury," Adam said.
Here's today's docketing info:
"Docketing Statement due for Appellant Robert Blagojevich and Appellant Rod R. Blagojevich by 05/14/2010. Appellant's brief due on or before 06/16/2010 for Robert Blagojevich and Rod R. Blagojevich. Record on Appeal from Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division due by 05/28/2010. Transcript information sheet due by 05/21/2010."