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

Defense lawyer to jurors: 'If you think that man is not guilty, please don't sign a guilty form.'

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki

Perhaps they're hoping for another holdout.

As he discusses allegations his client held up a bill to extort a racetrack executive, defense lawyer Aaron Goldstein makes a request of the jurors who will decide Rod Blagojevich's fate.

"Please do me a favor. If you think that man is not guilty, please don't sign a guilty form," Goldstein says. "Please. Too much is at stake here. Don't do it. Don't do it. The words mean what exactly they're saying."

During Blagojevich's last trial, just one juror thought Blagojevich wasn't guilty on the prosecution's Senate seat charges, earning the nickname "the holdout juror" for refusing to side with the others on 11 of the prosecution's 24 total charges. Blagojevich was convicted of just one: lying to the FBI.

Moving onto allegations Blagojevich shook down a hospital CEO, Goldstein has the same message: it never happened.

"He cares about healthcare. There's no doubt," Goldstein tells the jury. "You don't do things that hurt what you love and you care about."

Yes, Goldstein concedes, Robert Blagojevich talked to Patrick Magoon, Children's Memorial Hospital CEO, about fundraising. That, Goldstein tells the jury, is not a crime.

"You're not here to decide whether fundraising is good or bad," Goldstein says. "You're here to decide whether that man committed crimes. And he didn't. He asked for fundraising, which he has every right to do."

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This page contains a single entry by Lark Turner published on June 9, 2011 3:02 PM.

Blagojevich 'not mandated to sign a bill on any timeline whatsoever,' defense says was the previous entry in this blog.

Rod and Patti Blagojevich tearful as defense concludes closing argument; prosecution to give rebuttal is the next entry in this blog.

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