Reporting with Sarah Ostman
The federal judge in the Rod Blagojevich case today said there was nothing wrong with letting go a bulk of jurors who said that serving in the case would create a hardship for them.
Judge James Zagel won't start from scratch on jury screening as the defense had requested, he said.
Zagel cited a couple instances where potential jurors, who had filled out questionnaires, said they were out of work or couldn't get child care for the length of the trial, estimated at 15 to 17 weeks.
Zagel is allowing the defense to take a closer look at the people he dismissed and he'd consider recalling them.
One interesting tidbit from today's hearing: Apparently Lon Monk, expected to be a key witness in the case, at one point lied to Robert Blagojevich about an ailing parent.
Monk lies and says he's visiting his sick father, Zagel said.
The government wanted to black out that portion of the call, saying it wasn't relevant.
Zagel said it is relevant "and the manner in which he told that falsely," is relevant, given Monk's positioning as a top witness.