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

Judge to lawyers: Skip lunch and get control of your client.

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Reporting with Abdon Pallasch

Judge James Zagel once again cleared out the jury then told defense lawyers they better wrap up their direct questioning of the ex-governor by the end of the day. Maybe one hour tomorrow, he said.

Zagel said it would be "better for the administration of justice" if Rod Blagojevich's lawyers got him to answer more pointed question.
"There are some things now that have been repeated for the 15th and 16th time," Zagel said. "There's a certain flavor of campaign speeches here."

Zagel said he's given the defense extraordinary leeway.
"I've permitted you to do something that's rarely done with a defendant in a criminal case. I've permitted you to lead him," Zagel said. "This repetitiveness will diminish the attentiveness of the jury."

He suggested that attorneys skip lunch and instead work with their client on giving more concise answers. Blagojevich has repeatedly been cut off from tangents, history lessons, etc.

"I'm not of the view that you're trying to run out the clock," Zagel said. Zagel believes the defense is trying to get Blagojevich to talk and talk so jurors are more familiar and comfortable with him. But he said it's time to stop.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on June 1, 2011 12:51 PM.

Angered judge clears out jury, scolds Blagojevich for "entirely inappropriate" testimony was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich tried to prevent Cullerton as state senate president is the next entry in this blog.

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