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

Blagojevich case: A tale of two juries. Here's where we were last time at this point.

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On day seven of deliberations, the jury in Rod Blagojevich's retrial again is silent. So far, the panel of 11 women and one man has been fairly quiet, sending just two notes.

In the most substantive note, sent last week, the jurors asked for clarification on an element of wire fraud, which makes up 10 counts against the former governor. They need to find four elements were met in order to convict Blagojevich of those charges, which mainly involve the alleged sale of President Obama's Senate seat.

Last year's jury went eight days without making a sound.
It turned out they were at war.

Here's a run-down of LAST YEAR'S JURY deliberations, which lasted 14 days:

-- NOTE NUMBER ONE: The six women and six men didn't take long before they had a question.
On day two of their talks, July 29, 2010, jurors made their first request: they wanted a transcript of the prosecution's closing argument. The request was denied because closing arguments are not evidence.
After reading the note, the three prosecutors on the case looked at each other and laughed.
Jury's first note: Click here

-- NOTE NUMBER TWO: The next day, July 30, day three of talks they asked U.S. District Judge James Zagel for transcripts of all the witness testimony. He denied the request but said he may give them specific witnesses. They never asked for more.

-- NOTE NUMBER THREE: Eight days of silence go by without a peep from the panel. Then, on day 11 of talks, the jurors communicate a whopper: They are at an impasse: Click here "We have gone beyond reasonable attempts" to reach a unanimous decision and "now ask for guidance," the panel, headed by James Matsumoto, said in a note. Still, they continue talking.

-- NOTE NUMBER FOUR: The next day, Aug. 12, a Thursday, jurors reveal something else -- on day 12 of talks, they were unanimous on just two of 24 counts. They reveal they couldn't reach consensus on 11 wire fraud counts (there's now just 10 after prosecutors dropped one count.) At this point, Blagojevich is waiting in the cafeteria and can only digest Snapple for lunch.

-- NOTE NUMBER FIVE: The following Monday, Aug. 16, jurors ask for transcript of the testimony of former Illinois deputy governor Bradley Tusk. This happens on day 13 of talks.

-- NOTE NUMBER SIX: The morning of Aug. 17, a Tuesday, jurors ask for two things: a copy of the oath they took when they were seated, and second, instructions on how to fill out their verdict form if they can't reach a unanimous decision on a certain count or counts. It's day 14 of their deliberations.
At about 3 p.m. that same day, the defendants -- brothers Rod and Robert Blagojevich -- were summoned to court.
-- VERDICT: On day 14 of talks, at around 4:30 p.m. the verdict -- or lack of one -- is read. The ex-governor is convicted of just one count -- lying to the FBI. The jury is hung on 23 remaining counts. On the 11 Senate seat sale charges, the jury votes 11 to 1 in favor of conviction with a female hold-out juror who stands her ground. The other counts are more evenly divided, with the men and women sparring.

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TrackBack URL: http://blogs.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/41266

The jury is holed up in Judge James Zagel's chambers for an eighth day as speculation grows about what the 11 women and one man are discussing as they debate Rod Blagojevich's fate. The relatively quiet jury -- read more... Read More

The jury deliberating the fate of Rod Blagojevich was spotted Thursday entering a private elevator on its way to get lunch. About half of the jurors were looking casual and wearing blue jeans, while others were slightly dressier. They mostly... Read More

5 Comments

Don't back down from your metaphors, Natasha! You have to find something to write about while this wears on. :)

Thanks again for your great reporting - my girlfriend thinks I'm crazy because my phone now informs me whenever you Tweet.

Thank you for this recap/reminder of what the previous jury went through. Sometimes outside observers lose sight of the fact that these are real people, performing a really difficult, time-consuming, demanding, and ultimately thankless task. They are forced to sacrifice weeks of their lives to this process, and have every armchair pundit out there criticize and second-guess their decision making abilities.

At war? That is a little extreme for what was happening. There was conflict, but no major fights.

Statutes Section 1343, for element 3 of wire fraud, has two either/or requirements:

"devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud"
or
scheme for "obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises"

Cannot undersatnd why the Jury is told the actions must fit second of these two either/or requirements. If I were a jury member, I will find blago actions hard to fit the false promises requirement.

Statute Section 1346 says that depriving the public of honest services will be considered fraud which makes his actions fit the first requirement so easy.

Can anyone elaborate?


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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on June 21, 2011 4:07 PM.

And day seven is gone. Blagojevich jurors go home. was the previous entry in this blog.

Deliberations, day 8: Jury continues talks as speculation mounts is the next entry in this blog.

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