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

Game on Monday -- jury instructions concluded

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Closing arguments in Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial are set for Monday after a lengthy day of jury instructions today.

"We lost 90-1," complained Sam Adam Sr. after court, referencing the apparent number of instructions offered by the government that Judge James Zagel accepted versus those offered by attorneys for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

In one debate, Zagel shot down an attempt by Blagojevich attorneys to offer a "missing witness instruction" to jurors. It argued that the government had the power to call Tony Rezko, Stuart Levine, President Obama and a myriad of others to prove its case -- but didn't.

Zagel said raising the specific names doesn't fly because the defense has the same subpoena powers but also chose not to exercise them.

"This is why you have subpoena powers. This is what we give you," Zagel told defense lawyers.

Zagel cautioned the defense from criticizing the government for failing to call those witnesses in closing arguments. If they go down that road, he warned, he'd cut in and explain to jurors that the defense had the same subpoena powers.

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3 Comments

If I were a juror, I certainly would not convict on racketeering, where is Rezko and Kelly is dead.
Monk said he took money from Rezko without blago s knowledge. The government had a duty to
call Rezko.

Perhaps if Adams had elected to put up some kind of defense he would have had more opportunity to provide instructions to the jury.

That ridiculous the defense did have the same right, but the government is the one who has the burden of proof. If the government doesn't call a witness that proves the crime, system is meant so that if the government doesn't have a compelling case then the defense doesn't need to say anything I am a bit outraged he would point out they had the option, I agree about not including it but the idea that he would say that seems in proper and contrary to the principles of our justice system. Our justice system isn't meant to be ruled by popular demand it is a system of impartiality and justice. The system is such that if the defense choice not to call any witness it can't be used against them, could they have called them yes do they have an obligation no, but I think it seems clear that the government based so much of there case on resko that they at least did have an obligation to call him with all the hearsay there witness offered. Yes the government does want guilty verdict, but they have to remember who they represent the people and justice for all, fairness. It seems they may have forgotten this in this case in search of public approval.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on July 23, 2010 3:36 PM.

Hmmm. Will Blagojevich closings happen Monday afterall? was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich trial: Day 27 -- Closing arguments is the next entry in this blog.

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