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

Blagojevich jury questioning ending -- final jury to be picked Monday

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By Lark Turner

After five days, and dozens of people, jury questioning in Rod Blagojevich's retrial has finally wound down.

Judge James Zagel said this afternoon he thought the parties had enough "qualified" jurors for a final jury pool. Though the final jury won't be chosen until Monday, giving lawyers the weekend to decide who they want to strike.

The end came after some spirited tug-of-wars between the lead prosecutor and defense lawyer Sheldon Sorosky.

Sorosky accused the government of trying to toss potential jurors who were good for the defense under the guise of saying the jurors had hardships. That included one person who said defendants were innocent until proven guilty.

"All of the sudden the government is the kindest person in the world," Sorosky said, sarcastically. "Mr. (Reid) Schar's heart would not allow that to happen."

Attorneys have been working to build a pool of 40 people and by this afternoon, they had 40-plus qualified jurors.

Sorosky got in a spat this morning with Schar, then accusing the government of trying to get a "classist, 'Norman Rockwell" jury. They sparred as Sorosky asked to keep a man who had once stabbed his brother.

Opening statements could then happen Monday afternoon, Judge James Zagel said.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are currently debating whether they will pick jurors in order of their randomly assigned number or if they will mix up the jury pool now before exercising their 'peremptory challenges,' where they can dismiss a certain number of jurors.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on April 28, 2011 1:55 PM.

Potential Blagojevich juror on media: 'Rod is being retried, blah, blah, blah' was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich openings and first witness to come Monday is the next entry in this blog.

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