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

Blagojevich defense asks for a mistrial based on judge's "inappropriate message" to jury.

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Rod Blagojevich's defense lawyers filed a bidfor a mistrial, saying that Judge James Zagel's repeated rulings against them have kept them from telling their side of the story.

"Defense counsel has been systematically prevented from engaging in meaningful cross-examination by unwarranted sustaining of objections," Blagojevich's lawyers wrote in the filing. "The result is the deprivation of a fair trial and a mistrial is warranted."

They also complained about Zagel's comments in front of jurors, citing one remark from Zagel: "Don't do that, now we‟re getting into the mind-reading of the prosecution."

"Moreover, by ruling on these "mind reading" objections orally in front of the jury, it sends an inappropriate message to the jury (when only the defense is sustained on these questions)."

Zagel has indeed run a tight ship, upholding objection after objection by the prosecution.
For its part, the defense has not objected often -- so far today just once as a top witness, John Harris, testifies.

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I don't think the defense is foolish at all for making this motion. They are laying the groundwork for an appeal, if necessary. I'm not in the courtroom so can't assess how the judge's constant slapping down of the defense is coming off to the jury, but they may actually feel sorry for them and Blago. Also, just reading the blogged summaries of testimony so far leaves me with the distinct impression that Blago was more like a member of The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight rather than a seasoned member of the Illinois Combine. While it sure sounds like he wanted to play, other than Patti's "no show job", paid by Rezko and not financed by the government (and really, a realtor does not have to show up at an office to do her job; she can do it from home or on the road), Blago has not been shown to have received any payoffs, unlike Rezko, Kelly and Monk. Honestly, it appears from the testimony so far that Obama got more from his "boneheaded" deal with Rezko than Blago did. Meanwhile Blago's the only one signing his name to documents (board appointments) with nothing other than the promise of a payoff which, it seems, didn't pay off. I'm not saying he's honest, just that he was not too successful at the pay to play game. JMHO

Rod's team must think they can get away with the Chicago/Illinois way of defense. After getting pounded for 2 days by witness after witness, team Blago can not take it any more. The white flag is going up. Time to start talking with a prison consultant about a gentle prison, where Rod will get the rod even if he has a bad hair day!

I assume that Judge Zagel is the one who will be deciding on this motion? Seems like kind of a dumb move by the lawyers... why get him even more upset?

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on June 22, 2010 1:44 PM.

Rod Blagojevich on Obama: "Do they think I would just appoint Valerie Jarrett for nothing?" was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich witness: Two agents of Barack Obama said "no" to Jesse Jackson Jr. appointment is the next entry in this blog.

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