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

Robert Blagojevich attorney to jury: You heard the government prove my client is innocent

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki, Dave McKinney and Abdon Pallasch

Robert Blagojevich time and time again fended off a bribe offer from members of the Indian community who offered millions of dollars if the governor would appoint Jesse Jackson Jr. to the Senate, Robert's attorney tells the jury.

Attorney Michael Ettinger re-tells the saga surrounding the alleged $6 million offer - Robert's coffee shop talk with Rajinder Bedi in which the fund-raiser brings up Raghu Nayak's lucrative offer; the taped call between Rod and Rob when they discuss the fund-raising benefits of holding off on naming a Senate successor until after two key fund-raising events; another taped call between Robert and Babu Patel in which the governor's brother says "Money is not gonna be a factor here."

Robert fought at every step, Ettinger argues.

"Listen to the tape," Ettinger urges the jury. "Listen to his voice. What does this man gotta do to tell people he's not going to be involved in this?"

Ettinger is in overtime; he's gone significantly over the one hour he said he'd need. Judge James Zagel breaks in, telling the attorney he has five minute to conclude.

"I didn't know I was timed," Ettinger said. The judge offers two extra minutes.
"This is my last topic. Can I finish it without rushing?" Ettinger said. "It might be 10 minutes."
The judge pauses. "Sure," he says.

Ettinger clearly didn't want to speed through the Jesse Jackson Jr. point - it's a key charge against his client. Still, he wraps up quickly.

"You heard (the government) prove beyond a reason doubt that he's innocent," Ettinger says. "He's an innocent man."

"Let your conscience be your guide," he says. "Remember what did this man do? What did he say? Not what his brother said to him -- what did he do?"

"Go back there and sign a not guilty verdict for all four of them," Ettinger concludes.

He's referring to the four counts against Robert Blagojevich. It was five until this morning, when prosecutors dropped one wire fraud charge.

Zagel and the lawyers are having a conference before Sam Adam Jr. begins.

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"Ettinger is in overtime; he's gone significantly over the one hour he said he'd need." How much over? The prosecution, according to this blog, was at least a half hour over. Was Ettinger over by more than that, much more than that? This looks bad -- interrupting a close because the Judge is running a stop watch or something. Zagel has been very concerned thoughout this trial about the defense taking time, often chastising them, while he spent time regaling the audience with his emails, and citizen stops on the street. It looks bad.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on July 26, 2010 3:27 PM.

Judge James Zagel: Closing statements will carry into tomorrow was the previous entry in this blog.

Judge Zagel threatens to hold Blagojevich lawyer in contempt; attorney vows to go to jail is the next entry in this blog.

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