Reporting with Natasha Korecki
Rod Blagojevich's jury has finished its first day of deliberations, according to the clerk of court.
Judge James Zagel said in a Friday afternoon hearing the jury that will decide the fate of Blagojevich has picked its foreperson. In that hearing, Zagel denied the defense's bid for a mistrial.
"It seems you were mistrustful of us. Truth is, you may not like us. You may not like our client. You have formed opinions from the first trial," defense lawyer Lauren Kaeseberg told Zagel. "The truth of the matter is we didn't get a fair trial."
The defense had said Zagel, among other things, misled them into believing that putting their client on the stand would be a good thing. They said that Zagel led them to think that case law would allow Blagojevich to testify about what he thought was legal at the time he was discussing the Senate seat appointment.
Zagel said he told the defense: "He could well save himself by testifying...It was an opinion when I uttered it and it is an opinion that I still have."
But he said the decision to testify was Blagojevich's to make.
"He clearly knew it was his best choice," Zagel said.
He also said he never decided guilt or made findings of fact -- that's up to the jury, he said.
"I'm not interested in doing someone else's work," the judge said.
The jury also set a daily schedule for its deliberations, Zagel said. He would not specify what that schedule was except to say the jury will end earlier than is typical. It looks like that may be 4 p.m.; the jury left at about 3:55 p.m., according to a message from Michael Dobbins, the clerk of court.
Blagojevich himself was in court this afternoon. He just went before Zagel to formally ask to be excused from reading jury notes. That means he won't be required to come in when the jury sends notes to the judge."If it's OK with you, Judge," Blagojevich said.
"Then, Governor, you're excused from coming in," Zagel told him.