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

Judge Zagel: "Unpersuaded" by motions to drop charges, but will hold off on decision

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Lawyers are back before Judge James Zagel this morning, making their last arguments over their motions for acquittal. It's a routine procedure in a trial; it's unlikely that the judge will actually drop charges.

The defense, headed at the lectern by attorneys Aaron Goldstein and Lauren Kaeseberg, is arguing about three main counts in the indictment: those surrounding Change to Win, a labor union organization Rod Blagojevich discussed getting a job at in exchange for appointing Barack Obama's pick to the Senate; those regarding real estate fees Patti Blagojevich accepted from Tony Rezko; and count 24, which alleges that the ex-governor lied to FBI agents.

Goldstein argues there was no illegal action taken on the Change to Win counts -- that, again, it was all just talk. On Patti's legal fees, he argues that, without expert testimony, the jury is ill-equipped to determine whether the amount of cash Patti received was appropriate for the work she did for Rezko.

And count 24 should be tossed, the defense argues, because there is no accurate transcript of Blago's FBI interview; instead, jurors are relying on an agent's testimony.

The judge says he is "unpersuaded," but will wait to make a final decision on the motion until after closing arguments.

"Sometimes my mind has been changed by what happens in closing argument," the judge says.

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on July 22, 2010 10:19 AM.

Blagojevich on secret tapes: Here is the tape was the previous entry in this blog.

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