*** UPDATE 1 *** From NBC5…
[ *** End Of Update 1 *** ]
Rod Blagojevich’s attorneys on Tuesday requested a 30-day extension on the date the former governor must report to prison. Judge James Zagel granted the extension during a hearing at the Dirksen Federal Building.
Blagojevich’s new date is March 15.
During the hearing Blagojevich’s attorneys also made a request for which prison he’ll be sent to. They asked for Englewood, Colo.
* This is not cool…
A federal judge ordered a Chicago Tribune reporter on Monday to turn over notes and other related documents concerning a juror who apparently concealed her criminal record in the William Cellini trial, a directive the newspaper called “unnecessary” and harmful to the independence of the reporting process. […]
During a brief hearing last week, U.S. District Judge James Zagel brought up the idea of compelling the Tribune to turn over its notes from a conversation with the juror before any of the lawyers in the case even raised the issue. The judge identified the juror in Monday’s ruling as Candy Chiles.
The defense argues that the Chicago woman compromised the verdict by concealing her criminal history and potential bias during jury selection. In an effort to bolster their position, Cellini’s lawyers sought access to notes of Tribune reporter Annie Sweeney from a brief interview with Chiles.
In his ruling issued late Monday, Zagel ordered that Sweeney “produce any and all notes, memoranda, tape recordings, documents, or other records, from Oct. 3, 2011, to present, of any conversations the journalist had with the juror” related to her previous criminal history or answers during jury selection.
I really don’t think judges ought to be nosing around in reporters’ notebooks. I asked Dick Ciccone, Cellini’s spokesman, about why they’d ask for such a thing…
It is simply to learn if the juror said anything about Cellini or the trial that did not appear in their stories.
* Tribune editor Gerould Kern’s response…
“Journalists must be free to ask questions and collect information secure in the knowledge that their notes will not be seized by the government or litigants in court and used for other purposes. Unfortunately, that security now is threatened by this ruling.
We believe that these subpoenas are unnecessary and in fact do harm to the independence of the reporting process. We are disappointed by Judge Zagel’s ruling, and we now are considering our options.
We do not know why this juror’s record or suitability for service were not ascertained earlier by the court. Had that occurred, we might not face this situation now.
We argued in our court filing that there are other, more direct sources of information available to learn about the juror’s record and actions. These include the court’s jury selection records, the juror herself, her friends and family, and her fellow jurors.
Public court records also are available to everyone in this case, as they were to us when we revealed the felony convictions in our Nov. 11 story. “
*** UPDATE 2 *** Annie Sweeney tells us what happened when she talked to the juror in question…
Something has come up about you, I said. I am not here to judge, but we know about your convictions. And now there are questions about whether you were eligible to serve on the jury.
She began repeating the word no and indicated she did not want to be interviewed.
I continued talking. I was not taking notes.
She said she had nothing to say and told me to leave. She then made one brief remark that was not in direct response to a question. She said something about they should have known. I am not sure those were her exact words and I did not understand what she meant. I didn’t have an opportunity to ask her to explain it.
At some point I also asked her about her jury questionnaire in which she revealed she had a criminal history in her family but failed to put in the details.
She did not answer my questions and kept asking me to leave, so that’s what I did. The brief conversation ended before I could get a meaningful statement from her and I went to my car and wrote down my recollections of her remarks. They were not verbatim and not in perfect chronological order.