Reporting with Abdon Pallasch
Rod Blagojevich on the witness stand suggested that the government deleted portions of recorded phone calls that were favorable to him.
That caused Judge James Zagel to clear out the jury. He then turned to Blagojevich and his lawyers, telling him he thought it was "entirely inappropriate" to make such a suggestion in front of the jury. Zagel said he ruled on the same matter already since Blagojevich took the stand and that now, he saw the ex-governor as flagrantly violating his orders.
"This is a deliberate effort by this witness to raise something that he can't raise, to (suggest) something that was good was eliminated," Zagel said. "This is not fair. This is a repeated example of a defendant who want to say something, smuggling them in. He did that yesterday, day before yesterday. This is not right, I am going to give an instruction to the jury that he is not to refer to stuff that's been deleted on the witness stand in the presence of the jury."
"Do you understand what I have just said?" an irritated Zagel asked. "Is that clear?"
"It's clear," one of Blagojevich's lawyers, Lauren Kaeseberg said.
"Do you think it's possibly clear to your client?" Zagel said. At that, Blagojevich raised his hand next to his face, as if to say: 'yes.'
"I'm sure it is," she said.
Zagel complained that yesterday Blagojevich purposely inserted a reference to his 12-year-old cousin who died of Leukemia at Children's Memorial Hospital. Zagel said Blagojevich did this even after Zagel told him he couldn't do it.
The jury's back in.