Reporting with Lark Turner
There appears to be a gag on lawyers in the Rod Blagojevich corruption case.
Since last week -- and after the jury got the case -- there have been four sealed filings in the case and lawyers tied to the trial who usually freely discuss it are now keeping their mouths tightly shut.
The filings came after media appearances by onetime Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam Jr. who last week, during jury deliberations, went on TV and radio predicting "20 not guilty verdicts" for his onetime client.
The sealed filings began from the prosecution and go back and forth with the defense. "SEALED RESPONSE to sealed document," and so on.
The first of the filings came on June 15th, the day after Sam Adam Jr's appearance on FOX. Adam is no longer on the trial -- but he still has an appearance on file in the case. On June 13, Blagojevich lawyers Lauren Kaeseberg and Aaron Goldstein both appeared on "Chicago Tonight," a public television political show.
There have been no subsequent media appearances by any of those lawyers (with the exception of prerecorded interviews). The defense team, which had been waiting on the verdict inside the courthouse, has moved elsewhere to wait.
On June 16, lawyers were summoned to U.S. District Judge James Zagel's chambers for a private meeting. Also in the courthouse was Adam. Afterward, the typically talkative Adam would not answer questions about the Blagojevich case. A few times when asked a question, he'd put his hand over his mouth.
"I MUST decline to comment," Adam repeatedly said. "I cannot tell you why."
Another defense lawyer, Michael Ettinger, who also still has an appearance on file in the case -- and typically answers questions about the trial -- responded today: "I cannot comment at this time," when asked about strategy in the case.
A U.S. Attorney's spokesman also had no comment on whether there was a gag order.
Last year, during Blagojevich's first trial, prosecutors asked Zagel to gag Blagojevich after he was commenting on witnesses' testimony. Zagel declined to do it.