* I would really like to know who this lone holdout juror is…
A juror in the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich says the panel was deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting the former Illinois governor of trying to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.
Juror Erik Sarnello of Itasca, Ill., said the panel was deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting Blagojevich of trying to auction off the Senate seat. He said one woman on the panel “just didn’t see what we all saw.” The 21-year-old Sarnello said the counts involving the Senate seat were “the most obvious.”
[Juror Stephen Wlodek] and the other two jurors disagreed on the exact number of counts in which the jury eventually voted 11-1 to convict, they did agree on this: On at least some of the most serious counts, the overwhelming sentiment was Blagojevich was not just a politician blowing off steam in conversations recorded by the FBI in which he said the power to name a senator was “(expletive) golden” and that he wasn’t going to give it up “for (expletive) nothing.” […]
But [juror Erik Sarnello] and Wlodek told the AP that after three weeks, it was clear one juror, a woman they wouldn’t name, would not be swayed.
“She just didn’t see it like we all did,” Sarnello said. “At a certain point there was no changing. … You can’t make somebody see something they don’t see.”
While some votes were split 7-5, 6-6 or 9-3, the most explosive of the charges — that Blagojevich tried to sell Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat — came down to a single holdout vote, jurors said.
That one holdout — a woman whom her colleagues declined to single out — felt she had not gotten the “clear-cut evidence” she needed to convict, Sarnello said.
“Say it was a murder trial — she wanted the video,” Sarnello said. “She wanted to hear [Blagojevich] say, ‘I’ll give you this for that.’ . . . For some people, it was clear. Some people heard that. But for some, it wasn’t clear.'’
She sounds an awful lot like the lone holdout in George Ryan’s trial. That woman was removed by the judge after it was reported that she hadn’t told the truth about her criminal record during the selection process. No such luck this time around.
* Another mystery about this case was why the jurors requested a copy of their oath…
Sarnello addressed the question of why the jury Tuesday asked for a copy of the oath they took at the start of deliberations. Some jurors felt one of the jurors was not deliberating in good faith. “Some people felt that they were deliberating not under what the law told us to do,” he said.
“What they were looking at wasn’t what we were supposed to be looking at based on what the judge gave us as a set of rules,” Sarnello said.
It’s probably safe to assume that the lone holdout was the target of that action. Yep. She sounds more and more like Ryan’s friendly juror with every revelation.
* Meanwhile, remember that jury note from last week which claimed they had agreed on two counts and were deadlocked on the rest? It turns out, the transcript of Bradley Tusk’s testimony, which the jury requested this week, convinced some jurors to switch their guilty votes to not guilty…
The entire jury had been prepared to convict Blagojevich on the bribery charge that dealt with the ex-governor trying to shake down then-U.S. Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, Wlodek said.
But reviewing testimony from former deputy governor Bradley Tusk on Monday made all the difference for certain jurors, he said.
“Reading the testimony swayed two to three jurors to go from guilty to not guilty,” Wlodek said. “I think it just came down to the testimony of the witness. For them, it wasn’t there - they felt it didn’t prove their case.”
* So, besides the lone holdout and the Tusk-inspired flip-flop, what was the problem here? The prosecution’s road map was a jumbled mess…
Sarnello, a sophomore at College of DuPage studying criminal justice, said the main problem with the prosecution’s case was that it was all over the place.
“It confused people,” he said. “They didn’t follow a timeline. They jumped around.” […]
Wlodek described the jury’s deliberations as methodical, with the foreman assigning each juror a specific job. Wlodek’s job, for example, was to review the hours of recorded conversations that the government used as a primary piece of evidence against Blagojevich.
And Carol Marin was spot on today…
Fitzgerald, who is anything but a politician, used his own awesome power in this case with too heavy a hand. And so Blagojevich wasn’t hit with a federal indictment but a veritable Mack truck of complicated and redundant charges.
The feds are accustomed to winning. They wear it, too often, as a righteous entitlement. There is value in this loss.
Yes, there is.