Reporting with Natasha Korecki
Jurors have sent a note asking for clarification on a jury instruction involving 10 of the 20 counts against former governor Rod Blagojevich.
They specifically asked about the third part of the instruction which says: "Third, that the scheme to defraud involved a materially false and fraudulent pretense, representation, promise, or concealment."
That's interesting, because to find Blagojevich guilty of wire fraud, jurors must find that the government has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, all four elements of wire fraud -- including the third proposition that they are asking about.
Blagojevich is charged with 10 counts of wire fraud, nearly all having to do with the Senate seat. The jury instruction in question is about one-third of the way through the 70 or so pages they received.
The jurors will get a note back asking them to further clarify what specifically in that sentence they want detailed.
The note from Judge James Zagel tells the panel of 11 women and one man to review all of the instructions again. Then he said, if still necessary, jurors should specify which part of that phrase they want clarified. He told the lawyers in the parties to stay nearby -- and encouraged them to visit a library -- so if and when jurors want further clarification, it can be offered.
This is the instruction that jurors are reviewing:
Counts 1 through 10 of the indictment charge the defendant with wire fraud.
To sustain the charge of wire fraud, as charged in Counts 1 through 10, the government must prove the following propositions beyond a reasonable doubt: First, that the defendant knowingly devised or participated in a scheme to defraud the public of its right to the honest services of Rod Blagojevich or John Harris by demanding, soliciting, seeking, asking for, or agreeing to accept, a bribe in the manner described in the particular Count you are considering;
Second, that the defendant did so with the intent to defraud;
Third, that the scheme to defraud involved a materially false and fraudulent pretense, representation, promise, or concealment; and
Fourth, that for the purpose of carrying out the scheme or attempting to do so, the defendant used or caused the use of interstate wire communications to take place in the manner charged in the particular Count you are considering.
If you find from your consideration of all the evidence that each of these propositions has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant guilty of the particular count you are considering. If, on the other hand, you find from your consideration of all the evidence that any of these propositions has not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, you should find the defendant not guilty of the particular count you are considering.