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

Judge: Blagojevich jury likely to get case Thursday

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Reporting with Dave McKinney and Lark Turner


In a surprise, the judge in Rod Blagojevich's case just said the case could be wrapped up and given to the jury by Thursday.

Judge James Zagel said prosecutors could begin closing arguments tomorrow afternoon after the defense puts on one or two more witnesses.

The defense's closing argument, government rebuttal and jury instructions would then happen Thursday.

Jurors could begin deliberating Friday, Zagel said, after briefly meeting with the panel.

The defense closed out its questioning of Rod Blagojevich this afternoon, with the impeached ex-governor leaving the witness stand and extending his hand to prosecutors.

Following Blagojevich's surprising gesture, Zagel instructed the jury that the lawyers are not allowed to have contact with witnesses and sent the jury home for the day.

Zagel said the defense has two more witnesses to present, which will happen on Wednesday.

The development involving Blagojevich's attempted handshake followed questioning about his timing for filling President Obama's vacant Senate seat.
At one point, Blagojevich said he was contemplating waiting on an announcement until after convicted Blagojevich fundraiser and influence peddler Tony Rezko was expected to be sentenced in January 2009.
Doing so, Blagojevich said, could give him a "clean bill of health" within the political world and enable him to press forward with his intended push for Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
"It could possibly help us get the Lisa Madigan deal done because the cloud would be removed from me, and others would be even more willing to work with me to get the Madigan deal done," Blagojevich said.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on June 7, 2011 3:50 PM.

BLAGOJEVICH OFF WITNESS STAND, prosecutor gives him cold shoulder in front of jury was the previous entry in this blog.

RAHM EMANUEL ASKS BLAGO TO APPOINT CLAYPOOL, SAYS HE 'WANTS TO GO TO CABINET': TEXT OF HIS CALL is the next entry in this blog.

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