Reporting with Natasha Korecki, Dave McKinney and Abdon Pallash
The Blagojevich jury has reached a unanimous decision on only two of 24 counts before them -- and they have not yet started deliberating on what could be a big chunk of work for them.
"Your Honor," their note reads. "In response to your communication of 11 August, 2010, we've deliberated on all acts and counts with the exception of the wire fraud counts. We have reached unanimous agreement on two counts. We have been unable to agree on any of the remaining counts."
At hearing the news, Rod presses his lips together and looks as if he is trying to suppress a smile.
Judge James Zagel wants to send jurors a note telling them to go back and deliberate on the counts they haven't even talked about. There are 11 wire fraud counts, and they largely have to do with the Senate seat sale but they also include alleged schemes involving Children's Memorial Hospital and a racetrack legislation.
The judge proposed responding with a note that says, in part:
"You should deliberate on the wire fraud counts to the extent necessary to enable you to vote on those counts. We recognize that your stated inability to reach agreement on other counts may have established to your satisfaction that you would be similarly unable to reach unanimity on some or all of the wire fraud counts. Nonetheless, a deliberative decision by you on each of those counts should be made, even if it is a decision that you cannot reach unanimity on any of those counts."
Zagel has given attorneys 10 minutes to mull this over.
While we wait, Rod and Patti huddle with a family member and an adviser, who reached over and straightened Rod's blue tie as they spoke. Rod's face showed no emotion. At the next table. Robert Blagojevich stood with his wife and friends, likewise not letting his face betray emotion.
Back in court, attorneys say they are OK with the wording of the note with the exception of the word "vote," which they want to change to the word "decide."
"We don't want a situation where this is viewed as a supplemental instruction," a defense attorney tells the judge. Zagel agrees.
"The jury is at lunch," the judge says. "When they return, they will receive this in written form."
At the conclusion of court, Rod walks up to Patti and hugs her, rubbing her shoulders from behind.
Court is adjourned.