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*** UPDATE 1 - 9:22 am *** From the Chicago News Coop…
Rod Blagojevich’s attorneys will rest their case today without calling a single witness to the stand, according to Robert Blagojevich’s attorney Michael Ettinger. In addition, the defense has asked Judge James Zagel to wait until Monday for closing arguments.
Walking into the Dirksen Federal Building Wednesday morning, Blagojevich attorneys Sam Adam Sr. and Sam Adam Jr. said they would make a statement after speaking with the judge.
*** UPDATE 2 - 9:24 am *** CBS2…
The trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich appears to be coming to a sudden and unexpected end, as defense attorneys indicated before court began Wednesday that Blagojevich would not be taking the stand, despite repeated promises over the past 19 months that he would.
Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam Jr. told reporters on his way to the courtroom that they would make an official decision once the trial resumed and that the governor would then come down and make a statement.
That would indicated that the former governor would not be testifying and that his defense team would rest its case without calling any witnesses.
Man, I hope somebody has live video of that.
*** UPDATE 3 - 9:28 am *** CBS2 will have live video of the Blagojevich availability I’m told. I’ll let you know what’s going on. Meanwhile, Sun-Times…
It looks like former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich hasn’t changed his mind about not testifying in his own defense against corruption charges, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times this morning.
*** UPDATE 4 - 9:35 am *** Rich Samuels makes a good point on his Twitter page…
Remember at George Ryan’s indictment Dan Webb telling us the ex-Gov would take the stand at trial. Didn’t happen, of course
*** UPDATE 5 - 9:41 am ***
I’m pretty sure the live CBS2 video of the press conference will be at this link. I’ll let you know when it starts.
*** UPDATE 6 - 9:48 am *** Strike that. You’ll be clicking here for the live CBS2 feed instead.
*** UPDATE 7 - 9:56 am *** A little courtroom color from the Sun-Times…
At 9:40, the media is still cordoned off from entering the courtroom — but the tension is already palpable. One reporter is sweating profusely, wiping sweat with a napkin. Another spoke of feeling unnerved.
A security officer just announced that whoever doesn’t have a ticket should go to the overflow room on the 14th floor now, because there will be no room.
The overflow room is crowded, too. The usually-empty benches for the public are filled with people, and new media faces are vying for precious seats at the tables. Even the jury box is full of spectators.
*** UPDATE 8 - 9:59 am *** Interesting blog post by WBEZ’s reporter…
This is not a “prosecution hasn’t proved anything” defense. This is a strategic move to limit the damages. The prosecution had these two witnesses listed at the beginning of the trial: Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine. The prosecution chose not to put them up in their part of the case because they were waiting for the former governor to take the stand, spew long-winded and loose and then surprise/shock the world by bringing these men up to counter. So Blagojevich would say he never did anything wrong and then bam, two convicted businessmen would take the stand and debunk everything the gov said. The problem? The prosecution showed their hand. And the defense knew what was coming, so they called.
In my eyes, this is in-trial plea bargaining. The defense realizes that the big charges won’t stick and it is not worth the risk of the jury getting a whiff of Rezko and Levine. So they are settling in-court. Now maybe the prosecution didn’t do a good job of presenting their case. But really, this is about what they didn’t present. Two guys, two people with intimate knowledge that the jury would potentially use to make up their mind. The defense can’t take that chance.
Essentially, the Blagojevich defense is content on being convicted. They are hedging their bets that it will be for something small and hope to dodge the Rezko bullet which might have been the kill shot.
*** UPDATE 9 - 10:04 am *** NBC5 has its live camera up and running. Click here.
*** UPDATE 10 - 10:08 am *** They’re getting underway. Sun-Times…
Finally, just before 10:00 — a half-hour later than usual — spectators have been let into the courtroom.
*** UPDATE 11 - 10:13 am *** NBC5 reports that the defense has just rested. “The case is over.” There will be no testimony by Rod Blagojevich.
*** UPDATE 12 - 10:18 am *** Via NBC5, the prosecution is introducing a new phone call recording as a rebuttal, so there won’t be a Blagojevich media avail for a bit yet.
*** UPDATE 13 - 10:28 am *** The jurors are filing out.
*** UPDATE 14 - 10:34 am *** The judge said the proceedings will resume Monday at 9:30. From NBC5…
Rod Blagojevich stands before judge. Zagel: “Is it your personal decision not to testify?” Rod: “Yes”
*** UPDATE 15 - 10:35 am *** From the Sun-Times…
The government calls one rebuttal witness for Robert Blagojevich, FBI agent Dan Cain, and played a couple recordings. The defense objected to the tapes, but the judge overruled.
One is a call from Dec. 5, 2008 at 8:02 a.m. in which Robert Blagojevich tells a Friends of Blagojevich assistant he doesn’t want to talk on the phone.
“I’d rather do it on the cell, where no one can hear us,” she says.
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Robert answers.
The government has rested its case.
*** UPDATE 16 - 10:37 am *** Blagojevich is already blaming his lawyers…
As Rod #Blagojevich walks out od courtroom, with a big smile he says “Sometimes you have to listen to the advice of your lawyers”
*** UPDATE 17 - 10:39 am *** Carol Marin is now doing the live broadcast for NBC5. CLICK HERE TO WATCH.
*** UPDATE 18 - 10:42 am *** Hound…
Moments after saying he wont testify, Rod #Blagojevich is in the courtroom signing autographs.
*** UPDATE 19 - 10:53 am *** Busted…
Marshalls stopping Rod Blagojevich from giving autographs in courtroom
*** UPDATE 20 - 10:54 am *** More courtroom color…
Rod is in a navy suit, Patti is wearing a summer dress and has a pair of dark circles under her eyes. She’s sitting next to her sister, Deb Mell. […]
After much anticipation, the scene was not a dramatic one. Judge James Zagel asked if Robert Blagojevich had any other evidence to offer. He didn’t.
In those seconds, Rod Blagojevich sat at the defense table, looking down. He neatly organized pens in front of his notebook.
Zagel then gestured to Sorosky, who stood up and announced it: “At this time, the defendant Rod Blagojevich would rest.”
The jurors all looked at the defendant’s table.
One jurors’ eyes widened hearing the news. Others, for the most part, remained without expression.
*** UPDATE 21 - 11:27 am *** Fox Chicago…
Zagel asked if any of the attorneys had started to draft instructions for the jury on how to deliberate each charge. The prosecution spoke with Zagel about instructions on forfeiture charges.
Sorosky asked the judge for the prosecution to submit its version of instructions later Wednesday. The defense would look at it Thursday and possibly hold an instruction conference on Friday morning. Zagel scheduled it for Friday at 9 a.m.
Zagel also set a hearing for Thursday morning regarding the release of juror’s names based on a motion filed by several print media outlets, so it is heard before the issue possibly becomes moot.
Zagel said he’ll hear arguments for motions for judgment Wednesday afternoon and recessed court until 1:30 p.m
*** UPDATE 22 - 11:49 am *** Everybody’s still waiting…
The press pit in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Building is packed to the gills as reporters wait for Rod Blagojevich and his team of lawyers to exit the building. We’ve been told they plan to talk.
Word is the team is now hunkered down in a conference room upstairs, possibly strategizing about what to say to the media. It’s hard to get definite word, though — court personnel has banned everyone from the courtroom area.
In the meantime, court security officers have had to bring out ropes to hold back the restless crowd of reporters and cameramen. It’s the first time that’s happened this entire trial. A mic stand is nearly toppling over with microphones.
* According to the ever-reliable Sun-Times Blago Blog, we’ll know by 9:30 today whether Rod Blagojevich will testify…
Ultimately, sources tell the Sun-Times that on Monday night, the attorneys and the former governor agreed that Blagojevich couldn’t withstand what promised to be a stinging cross examination. They were also concerned because during preparation he was reluctant to admit he made mistakes and couldn’t keep his answers brief.
Also factoring into the calculation: there was some concern that Tony Rezko might be called as a rebuttal witness by the prosecution if Blagojevich took the stand.
Sorosky conceded that without Blagojevich on the stand it closed the door to calling any rebuttal witness — Rezko or otherwise.
The challenge now left for the defense: Sam Adam Jr. told jurors in his opening statement they would hear from Rod Blagojevich. Judge James Zagel will tell jurors they aren’t allowed to hold the decision not to testify against a defendant.
I’ll be clicking this link over and over again. I’m kinda amazed that they don’t have Google ads on their posts. I know the Blago Blog is getting plenty of traffic during this ordeal.
* Second-most interesting thing to come out of yesterday’s trial. The State Police swept Blagojevich’s campaign office for bugs…
After the news about Wyma [cooperating with the feds and helping them plant bugs] came out, Robert testifies, someone on the governor’s team had the Illinois State Police sweep the Friends of Blagojevich office for bugs on Dec. 8, 2008 — but Robert said he wasn’t concerned.
“Having the place swept for wires and bugs didn’t matter to me. We were doing nothing improper,” Robert testifies. “I never directed it. if Rod did, I’m not aware of it.”
Robert testifies that the order came from Chrissy Jacobs, a “politically connected” administrative assistant who was “very concerned about eavesdropping” and “a very excitable personality.”
The fact that the FOB offices may have been swept for bugs is a new revelation. Ultimately it did no good, or came too late — the FBI had bugs up already in the office, in addition to tapping numerous phone lines. And the governor was arrested the next day.
Also, this wasn’t the first time that an Illinois governor had used state police to try to combat federal investigators. A top aide to now-imprisoned Gov. George Ryan had state troopers do an illegal sweep of that governor’s Rosemont campaign office during his investigation in fall 1994.
* Rod Blagojevich’s quotes about planning to testify: “Let me tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to do what my accusers and political enemies have been doing, and that is talk about this case in 30-second sound bites on “Meet the Press” or on the TV news. Now, I’m dying to answer these charges. I am dying to show you how innocent I am. And I want to assure everyone who’s here and everyone who’s listening that I intend to answer every allegation that comes my way. However, I intend to answer them in the appropriate forum — in a court of law.” — Dec. 19, 2008, news conference.
* No Blago No Plea: As far as the rumor that Blagojevich was ready to take a plea deal, the source called that, “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”
* Experts: Blagojevich Makes a Good Call
* With Testimony, Blago Risks Digging Himself Deeper: Former Federal Prosecutor Gil Soffer
* Blagojevich Lawyers Divided on Whether Ex-Gov Should Testify
* Kadner: If Blago defense rests, Jackson the winner
* Tribune: Rod? Speechless?
* Brown: You’d think he’d be ashamed to back down now
* Sneed: Is Blagojevich trial over?
* Defense Rests for Robert Blagojevich
* Robert Blagojevich: “This whole experience has been a test”
* Robert Blagojevich: Blago campaign worker had state troopers sweep office for bugs the day before his arrest
* Nayak re-emerges as key figure in Blagojevich case
* Robert Blagojevich: I had “no problem” passing my brother’s message on to Raghu Nayak
* Robert Blagojevich: Raghu Nayak, other Indian fund-raisers were “awkward and clumsy and naive in our political system”
* Local Indian leaders ‘clumsy’ in pushing Jackson Jr., Rob says
* Robert Blagojevich: $6M Jackson emissary Raghu Nayak is a “likable exaggerator”
* No foot-dragging on Senate pick, brother says
* Protecting brother from ‘land mines’
* Blagojevich trial: Prosecutors work up to key phone call in Robert Blagojevich cross-examination
* Robert Blagojevich: I wish John McCain would have won
* Robert Blagojevich on cross: Sometimes government and fund-raising “bleed over”
* Robert Blago: ‘I Was In A War With The Government’
* ‘It’s What Politicians Do,’ Rob Blagojevich Says
* Robert Blagojevich: As a fund-raiser, “outrageous” requests from donors are part of the job
* Robert Blagojevich: Hospital CEO was just a name on a fund-raising list — not a target of pay-to-play
* Rob denies pressuring hospital CEO for campaign cash
* Rob: No jobs for donations
* Robert Blagojevich unapologetic on brother’s Cabinet seat hopes: “It would be a good fit”
* Robert Blagojevich: “That’s a leap I will no way step into”
posted by Rich Miller
Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:17 am
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