Reporting with Natasha Korecki
It's just a few minutes into the defense's cross-examination of lobbyist John Wyma, and things are already heating up in the courtroom.
Defense lawyer Sheldon Sorosky asked Wyma, who was a lobbyist for Children's Memorial Hospital, a series of questions that set off U.S. District Judge James Zagel. Sorosky is asking his questions while looking right at the jury.
Sorosky is asking about a rate increase for doctors at Children's. Deputy governor Robert Greenlee testified last week that Blagojevich told him to hold up the increase. The government alleges Blagojevich was trying to get campaign contributions from the CEO of Children's Memorial Hospital.
"Stop, stop, stop, stop," Zagel told Sorosky, who had just asked Wyma if he "could honestly tell the ladies and gentleman of the jury" if he didn't know if requested money from the Illinois government would go directly to doctors or to the hospital itself. "The form is objectionable."
Sorosky charged ahead: "You realize you're under oath, right?" he asked Wyma. Zagel bristled at that.
"You know, that falls in the category of 'do you speak English,'" the judge said, referencing a question defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein asked Greenlee last week. "You owe a certain degree of civility to the witness."
Sorosky apologized to Wyma. But he is raising prosecutor Carrie Hamilton's ire. Hamilton is on her feet constantly.
"We're here to tell the truth," Sorosky said, irritated, after prosecutors objected to a series of questions he asked about what Wyma might have said to Blagojevich.
"We're all here to tell the truth," Zagel said. "There's a time to say that, and now is not it."