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.