The tension between Judge James Zagel and defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein just escalated as the Rod Blagojevich defense lawyer questions a top union leader.
"I'm coming very close to sitting you down," Zagel warned Goldstein in a tense courtroom moment. "Don't do this."
The warning came after Goldstein asked SEIU leaderTom Balanoff if, in his conversation with Valerie Jarrett pertaining to Blagojevich's request for a cabinet appointment, he conveyed that Blagojevich wanted "one for the other." Then he asked if Balanoff went to authorities after their exchange.
Prosecutor Reid Schar shot up with an objection and Zagel made clear Goldstein was treading on dangerous water.
Zagel already hinted he wasn't liking the questioning before that exchange.
"If this is about the end of your cross, you can sit down now," Zagel told him.
"It isn't," Goldstein said simply, and continued questioning.
All day, prosecutors have lodged dozens of objections. Zagel has sustained just about all of them.
After the jury was gone for the day, Zagel told Goldstein it was improper to try sneaking in an advice by counsel defense through his questions and that he was going beyond the prosecution's scope. If he wanted to do that, Zagel told him, he could call Balanoff to the stand.
Goldstein asked if he could reply. Zagel cut him off, telling him he'd ruled this way before and he didn't plan on repeating it.
"I want you to understand it and I don't want you to reply to it now," Zagel said. Then, with emphasis: "I want you to comply with it."