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

Blagojevich judge: Obey my rulings about the tapes

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There's been much talk about "playing all the tapes" at Rod Blagojevich's upcoming criminal trial.
U.S. District Judge James Zagel has already told the former governor that isn't going to happen.
Now Zagel issued a warning that Blagojevich's lawyers better not spin the truth in front of jurors.
The judge put in a formal order that would bar Blagojevich's lawyers from telling jurors that there's some smoking gun evidence showing Blagojevich is innocent, but they've been barred from bringing it into court.
"Neither side may suggest, even in the most oblique way, that it possesses favorable evidence that the Court excluded," Zagel said.
He noted that both sides are barred from doing this. But it's been Blagojevich and his lawyers who have repeatedly attacked the government and even U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald personally for barring him from playing all the recordings at trial.
Zagel made clear recently that only he decides which recordings are relevant.
He also seemed pretty open to allowing the defense to play what it chooses, so long as Blagojevich takes the stand.
By putting it in writing, Zagel is trying to keep the lawyers honest during trial.
Nothing ticks off a judge more than when a lawyer disrespects a formal ruling.
What it doesn't control is what happens outside the courtroom.
There's nothing barring Blagojevich or one of his lawyers from holding news conferences outside the courtroom.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on May 7, 2010 12:27 PM.

Obama's image would improve if he testified: Blagojevich lawyer was the previous entry in this blog.

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