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

Blagojevich judge: Next time, jurors names stay secret 24 hrs after verdict

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The federal judge handling Rod Blagojevich's case said this afternoon that after the former governor's retrial, he will not release jurors' names immediately after the verdict.

Instead, he plans to wait 24 hours after a verdict is in to make the names public, he said.

"That's based on the experience some jurors had with the prompt release," U.S. District Judge James Zagel said.

He gave the media until Nov. 1 to file any objections (as they did the last time around) disputing his closure of the names. The new trial is expected to begin early next year.

Jurors in Blagojevich's case deliberated for 14 days before coming to agreement on just one count -- convicting the former governor of lying to the FBI. They remained deadlocked on 23 other counts. They were deadlocked on all four counts against Robert Blagojevich. Prosecutors later dismissed charges against him.

After they delivered the verdict, some jurors complained to Zagel that they were receiving numerous phone calls with interview requests.

Eventually, most jurors in the Blagojevich case submitted to media interviews.

• Also today, Zagel said new questionnaires would be sent to a new panel of potential jurors who will be told the trial is expected to take 10 to 11 weeks. Last time, they were told 15 to 17 weeks.

• Zagel gave prosecutors until Nov. 15 to tell the defense of any "fundamental changes," to the road map of its case. That does not mean they have to submit a witness list though. If the case is getting shorter, that likely means they're not changing too much.

• The next hearing date is set for Oct. 1 -- the same day as the deadline for any defense lawyers to drop out of the case. After court, attorney Shelly Sorosky said there was still no official word on what the father-and-son Adams team would do.

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Zagel is an interesting character for a dictator. But last time I looked the "Lazy Nine" sitting up on the supreme's, yawns their way through unfair trials. And, ya just never know when the "gavel will whack a mole?" Zagel seems to think he can keep names "secret." When he doesn't pluck them out, himself, from a telephone book.

Nor have we heard the last of Abraham Lincoln Still Rolling in his Grave. Since you really can't get a fair trial in a democratic country, IF the prosecutor stacks the deck.

Shame. Too many people believe the defendant has to be likable. When that's not true. The ethic behind our laws? You're innocent until you are proven guilty. And, Rod Blagovejich, and his wife, Patti, never saw a fair day in court.

Sure. Martha Stewart went to jail. Scooter Libby went to jail. And, Conrad Black went to jail. Meanwhile, the "legal profession" seems to be heading to hell in a handbasket. (And, yes. The large law firms have stopped hiring, wildly. Some day, ahead, the bankrupted students might figure a way out of these trenches?)

Oh, by the way, if you think politicians are saints, they are not. Most of them are just lawyers.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on September 8, 2010 2:40 PM.

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