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

Blagojevich lawyers: Start over with jury selection

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Defense attorneys for Rod Blagojevich filed a motion Sunday asking U.S. District Judge James Zagel to scrap a week and half of jury selection and start over due to "overwhelming bias" in the jury pool. Otherwise, the motion says, Blagojevich "cannot possibly receive a constitutionally fair trial."

The entire panel is "tainted," the motion argues, referencing an interview with a booted juror on WBBM radio. In the interview, the woman, Juror 101, said potential jurors were discussing the trial despite being specifically told not to, and said she believed Blagojevich "definitely" would not get a fair trial.

The motion argues potential jurors were more honest in the questionnaires they filled out than they were while being questioned in court by Zagel. The defense argue that though many jurors said they would "try" and believed they "could" put aside any bias if seated on the jury, that is "simply not enough."

The filing even references a post from this blog referencing the significant number of jurors who said they believed Blagojevich was guilty, three of whom remain in the jury pool: "Think Blagojevich is guilty? Join his jury!"

If Zagel doesn't grant the request and start over, the lawyers asked to move the trial to a different federal courthouse, possibly one in Hammond, Ind., "where perhaps the venire pool may be drawn from a group less hostile to Blagojevich."

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on May 2, 2011 9:50 AM.

Blagojevich retrial: Day 7. Opening statements was the previous entry in this blog.

As courtroom waits, Blagojevich lawyers and prosecutors likely discuss jury picks is the next entry in this blog.

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