The hearing was supposed to explore releasing the names of jurors serving in Rod Blagojevich's jury.
But by its end, Judge James Zagel suggested he wanted to protect jurors from the "rapacious" media by having the government spring for "no trespassing signs" that would be handed out to jurors.
His comments came as Zagel seeks to keep jurors names private until after the verdict comes down. Zagel has said he wanted to delay release of the names for eight hours until after the verdict, but the media objected, saying they should be made public.
Zagel told a media lawyer though that reporters had crossed the line after the verdict in Blagojevich's first trial and he wanted to give jurors some time to get home and decide how to handle the press. Zagel said he'd consider asking the U.S. Marshals Service to buy the signs for jurors so they can stake out their property.
Jurors complained about a helicopter hovering over their homes, repeated calls and doorbell rings, Zagel said.
Zagel said it was "clear members of the media ignore the rights (that) citizens have in order to have a story." The attorney representing the press suggested that Zagel encourage jurors to speak to the media before leaving the courthouse, to help avoid dealing with the issue at home.
Meanwhile, three charges against Blagojevich, including racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, were officially tossed today. Blagojevich will head to retrial in April with 20 counts against him instead of 23.
Blagojevich judge: Government should buy 'no trespassing' signs for jurors
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