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Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

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Rod Blagojevich's lawyers want to delay retrial to May

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A pared down Rod Blagojevich trial team says it cannot be prepared to retry the former governor in January, asking to push it to May -- a possible benefit to at least one mayoral candidate.

A delay in a retrial could be good news to mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel, who was under subpoena to testify during Blagojevich's first trial and whose name repeatedly came up -- both a victim of the former governor's alleged schemes and as a go-between in discussing possible Senate picks with the former governor and his staff. The mayoral election is Feb. 22. Emanuel was also caught on audio recordings discussing possible Senate picks with the former governor's staff, but none of those tapes were played in the first trial.

"The new trial team simply does not have the resources to adequately prepare for a January trial," lawyers wrote in a filing this morning.

Because Blagojevich must now turn to public funds to bankroll his defense, he will only be allowed two defense lawyers. Those lawyers say they need more time.

Sources said that Judge James Zagel has told the defense he would be open to delaying the trial two months. However, he has not made a formal ruling and only tentatively had discussed a retrial in January.

The matter is expected to be discussed further in a court hearing this afternoon.

Prosecutors in Rod Blagojevich's case on Thursday attacked statements made by the former governor's lawyers, saying they deliberately misled the public in media statements.

In a court filing, prosecutors take the Adams to task, saying they made up numbers, telling TV crews a retrial would cost the government up to $30 million.

Prosecutors say that sum nearly equals the annual budget of the U.S. attorney's office.

Read the full story here: Feds rip Adams

Prosecutors in Rod Blagojevich's case attacked statements made by the former governor's lawyers out of court, calling them "offensive" and "misleading."

In a 34-page filing today, prosecutors challenged statements made by Sam Adam Jr. and Sam Adam Sr., saying they were playing to the next jury by distorting facts at the trial.

At one point, the younger Adam criticized prosecutors in front of TV cameras that the feds target Blagojevich while babies are dying on the street.

"The notion that the government should forgo
prosecution of a corrupt ex-governor is offensive to any sense of justice," prosecutors fired back today. "These misleading statements and others were clearly meant to
improperly influence the jury that will hear this case on retrial."

The filing goes on to say that the Adams, who have since pulled out of representing Blagojevich in his retrial next year, made up false numbers for what the government has spent prosecuting the former governor.

"Defense counsel proceeded to deride the crime of conviction as "noncriminal behavior," and falsely suggested a retrial would cost between $25 million to $30 million, a number that the defense simply made up," they wrote.

Prosecutors in Rod Blagojevich's case submitted a 34-page filing today arguing why the sole conviction against the former governor should stand.

Blagojevich's lawyers have previously moved to toss out the conviction for lying to the FBI, but prosecutors today argued that numerous people took the witness stand, backing up the charge.

"Witness after witness at trial testified that defendant was interested in, and kept close track of the progress of fund-raising efforts targeted at specific donors and for specific amounts of money, and their testimony established that defendant's statement to the agents was false," prosecutors wrote in today's filing.

In an interview with the FBI, Blagojevich said he did not keep track of fund-raising and he created a "firewall" between politics and money. Blagojevich in August was convicted of one count of lying to the FBI while the jury was deadlocked on 23 others.
A retrial is scheduled for next year.

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