* There was a bit of a flurry this morning at the federal courthouse when it was announced that the jury had sent a note to the judge. Could there be a verdict this soon? No way, right? Well, it turns out, they wanted a transcript of the prosecution’s closing arguments…
The jury in Rod Blagojevich’s federal corruption trial has asked its first question during deliberations: Whether it could have a copy of the prosecution’s closing arguments.
Prosecutors laughed when the question was read. Judge James Zagel denied the request.
Zagel denied the request because closing arguments are not evidence. More…
In closing arguments, Prosecutor Chris Niewoehner extensively laid out the charges in the case with an explanation of each count and what evidence the prosecution believed proved their case.
Zagel noted that the indictment in the case, which does go back with the jury, was complicated and repetitive.
“If they are unable to work their way through this without the statements, I expect this issue to rise again,” Zagel said. “And I will deal with it.”
Zagel said he could see why the jury would want the transcript, since it might provide a “roadmap” for deliberations. Assistant U.S. Atty. Christopher Niewoehner’s closing had been especially detailed and given in Powerpoint style on an overhead screen.
The judge said he might be willing to revisit the request if it is made later in deliberations. But he said if he were to grant it, he would be inclined to give the panel transcripts of all the closing arguments.
It just goes to show that the prosecution did a great job in closing arguments. The defense? Not so much.
* By the way, if you want to read a copy of the jury instructions, click here. The indictment is here. I’ve put links to both, plus the jury form, in the “Blagojevich Trial” pull-down menu on the right side of the page.
* So, how long will the jury deliberate? The George Ryan jury deliberated 10 days. Tony Rezko’s jury hashed things out for 13 days. The Daily Herald has more…
Because of the sheer size and complexity of the case - including nearly eight weeks of evidence, more than an hour of instructions from Judge James Zagel issued Wednesday, and an 11-page worksheet that lays out requirements for guilt - the consensus around the federal courtroom is a verdict is likely to take at least a few days.
“I’m not anticipating one,” Zagel said of the likelihood of a quick verdict.
* Sam Adam, Sr. shared his thoughts with WBEZ…
ADAM, SR: My gut tells me this jury will be out at least until Friday. […]
ADAM, SR: …there’re several jurors I think that are with us. There are several jurors - I’m sure - haven’t really made up their mind. And there may or may not be one or two who are against us.
* Intrade is starting to hedge…
Intrade, the futures prediction market, has Rod Blagojevich’s conviction trading at 70 – which translates into the market predicting that there is a 70% chance the former Illinois governor will be convicted.
While this might not be the most encouraging odds for Blagojevich, the market has been dropping from a peak at 90 in early June, and from 75 two days ago – suggesting that investors are becoming less confident that the jury will return a guilty verdict.
The betting history…
If it drops to 60, buy.
* And Mark Brown asked a good question today. Why didn’t anybody call the coppers on Blagojevich?…
Neither racetrack owner John Johnston nor those road-building executives in search of tollway work went running to the feds to seek protection from Blagojevich’s efforts to pry campaign donations from them. At the time of the governor’s arrest, they obviously were still holding out hope they’d get what they wanted without coughing up the money. No sense rocking the boat.
Even Children’s Memorial Hospital CEO Patrick Magoon, the guy most clearly on the side of the angels in this affair, didn’t go out of his way to help catch the governor in the act.
Magoon consulted a criminal attorney to advise him how to handle what he perceived as an improper attempt by the Blagojevich crew to collect campaign contributions in exchange for increasing state aid to benefit the hospital.
Did the lawyer advise Magoon to go to the feds? No, he told him to quit taking phone calls from the governor’s team.
The strategy clearly was to sit tight and see if Blagojevich came through on his promise to authorize the funding.
I’m not trying to blame the victims. The point is that the no-snitch culture transcends the streets. It’s in our corporate boardrooms and under the Capitol dome.
Brown may have forgotten one alleged victim. Mother Tribune.
* Blago jurors enjoy cocoon
* Blagojevich trial: Inside the jury room
* Jury begins deliberations
* Jury gets case in Blagojevich corruption trial
* Blago judge makes right call on jurors
* Sam the Ham’s closing didn’t impress me
* What kind of parents take kids to court?
* Blagojevich saga a lesson for pols
* Sam Adam light? Well, lighter
* Mell outraged