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Jurors want trial transcripts, judge says no

Friday, Jul 30, 2010

* Rod and Robert Blagojevich’s jurors have asked for transcripts of the entire trial. Judge Zagel said “No,” but left the door open for transcripts from specific witnesses

“Is it permissible to obtain a transcript of the testimony. It would be helpful,” the note read.

And the answer to that question is no.

However, U.S. District Judge James Zagel said, with agreement by the lawyers, he will respond by telling the jurors that the testimony of certain witnesses would be considered.

Zagel noted that if (and when) that requests comes, it will take time to prepare the transcripts.

Blagojevich’s attorneys objected to transcripts of individual testimonies

“The government will have the benefit of presenting its case a whole second time,” said Sorosky, who pointed out that the jury took copious notes.

* Natasha Korecki at the Sun-Times believes the jury note could be “a sign that they’re in this for the long-haul,” which is echoed by Daniel Libit at the Chicago News Cooperative, who writes the request could indicate “that deliberations might be going on for longer than expected.” Jeff Coen at the Tribune writes the jurors “may be settling in for a long haul.” Susan Berger goes deeper

The second jury question “Is it permissible to obtain transcript of testimony. It would be helpful” Lots of speculation about this here at Camp Blago. Does this mean they are entirely lost and don’t know where to begin?

Or could it be that just a couple of jurors need convincing? And that they naively asked for transcript not knowing they could ask for just one witness’ testimony?

* Judge Zagel also denied a mistrial motion today

Zagel denied two defense motions – one for a mistrial and another challenging the jury instructions.

* Master predictor Eric Zorn has some more soothsaying for us

Five things to expect if Blagojevich is convicted

1. As is customary in white-collar crimes, he’ll remain free pending sentencing. He’ll immediately hold a news conference in the courthouse lobby at which he and his attorneys will vow to appeal the “unjust result of an unfair trial.”

2. Legal experts will declare that so many rulings went against his defense team that higher courts might well grant him a new trial. But they won’t. If the George Ryan timetable is any guide, the U.S. Supreme Court will deny his final appeal in the fall of 2012.

3. It will be December, maybe even January until Blagojevich’s sentencing hearing. In addressing the judge he will try – and fail – to sound chastened and remorseful while still not really admitting to anything that might jeopardize his appeal: “I should have been more vigilant. Should have been more watchful. Should have been a lot of things, I guess,” is more or less what he will say, echoing George Ryan’s feeble non-apology at his 2006 sentencing. “My charge in public office was to maintain and instill public confidence in the integrity of the government. I tried to do that, but I obviously failed.”

4. He’ll be ordered to report to prison two to four months after he’s sentenced. Again, this delay is customary. […]

5. He will mellow and lower his sights in prison, fashioning himself as a scapegoat and martyr who admittedly, regrettably did wrong, but did so only in an effort to thrive in a terribly corrupt system. Upon his release he will make a modest living as an inspirational speaker and freelance advocate for political reform.

Zorn also has a list of five things to expect if Blagojevich is acquitted. There’s no prediction for what happens in the event of a hung jury. Maybe later.

* Related…

* Jury asks to see prosecution’s closing argument

* Blagojevich jury seeks ‘road map,’ but left to own devices

* Gov rips gov: The Blago File . . .

* Giving Dan Walker a break

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Illinois Tollway 6 - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:21 pm:

    Upon his release he will make a modest living as an inspirational speaker and freelance advocate for political reform. ~ Per Zorn

    Hopefully it will be a very long time before that happens. Modest living in who’s mind? Rod & Patti’s or the rest of the world?

  2. - Quiet Sage - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:21 pm:

    Prediction 5 is wrong. Blagojevich will be a TV talk show host.

  3. - Ghost - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:33 pm:

    The Adams family will have more work then they can handle if he is acquitted… and Il will burn under its own corruption.

  4. - OneMan - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:33 pm:

    If he gets convicted of all of it isn’t the sentence long enough that bail is not an option?

  5. - Aldyth - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:33 pm:

    WGN radio will offer him a time slot alternating with other convicted politicians.

  6. - Northside Bunker - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:39 pm:

    Down the road maybe NBC could bring back the “Gong Show”, Rod could replace Charles Hirsch “Chuck” Barris.

  7. - Gregor - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:39 pm:

    I really don’t know what Rod will do for money if (unlikely) he’s acquitted. The motivational speaker thing will run until the elections are over, and who would hire him, except Republicans, wanting to extend the embarrassment of Dems?

    His skills are… what, exactly? Can he return to practicing law? Who would give him Law work? TV and Radio would be about it, something where he didn’t have to type too much. The only other thing I can think of is if he talks some fans into bankrolling him as an investor. Again, who would trust their money to Rod now?

  8. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:40 pm:

    Rod’s a natural used car salesman.

  9. - Northside Bunker - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:46 pm:

    Rod could also move to Las Vegas and get a job as a “cooler” for some casino.
    The possibilities are endless for Rod in Vegas, CIRCUS CIRCUS comes to mind too.

  10. - DuPage Dave - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:59 pm:

    Unfortunately for them, the adult members of the Blagojevich family will have to do some actual work in order to receive an actual paycheck.

    No one will be coming forth with cash for just showing up at a real estate closing, for example. No one will be giving them $1,500 checks at a child’s birthday party. There will be no easy credit for custom-made suits.

    It’s fun to guess what sort of job Rod or Patti may end up doing, but the real story is that the gravy train is long gone and they are stuck like the rest of us with having to produce something of value in order to receive money.

  11. - Red Ranger - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:01 pm:

    I think if he is convicted, the over/under on the time it takes to compare himself to Nelson Mandela is about 24 hours. I can imagine a statement along the lines of, “just like Nelson Mandela, I will be sent to jail because I stood up for my beliefs and fought a corrupt system. Like Nelson Mandela, one day I too will be vindicated. This is what sustains me, this is what I will fight for.” I think Ill take the under on this one.

  12. - Wacker Drive - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:05 pm:

    The negative is we will have to listen to Rod’s babbling until early next summer. UGH!

  13. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:21 pm:

    To see how a politician can rehabilitate, look at my long-time friend John Roland, convicted former governor of CT. Of course, I don’t think Rod is the same man as John, but then again, I’ve never met Rod.

    To make money, Rod could write a book (The Blago Blog, I Aas Rodded, two possible working titles). If he is prudent with his advance and sales percentage, one good book could set his family up for a modest life for life.

  14. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:22 pm:


  15. - Robert - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:23 pm:

    What might be going on here is that jurors are simply disagreeing about exactly what was said at trial - this scares me a bit; I hope they get some transcripts of parts they need.

  16. - Little Egypt - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:31 pm:

    I don’t see any way to silence Blago, whether guilty or not guilty. We’re stuck with his mouth for a long time to come and we need to learn to deal with it.

  17. - Edison Parker - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:39 pm:

    There is a way to silence him, Little Egypt. Revoke his bond upon conviction and give him a long sentence. I doubt the judge will revoke his bond, but I can dream.

  18. - South Side Mike - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:41 pm:

    I can understand why jurors can’t get transcripts of the opening and closing statements- they aren’t evidence. But why wouldn’t the jurors be allowed to get transcripts of the testimonies as a whole, other than the practicality of it? They are evidence, and have been entered into record.

    Of course, I love Sorosky’s objection about the govt. being permitted to present its case a second time. If the defense had actually presented a defense, the jurors could hear the defense’s case, too! When you don’t introduce evidence, the only thing a jury can consider is what was originally presented by the prosecution!

  19. - Hunterdon - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:42 pm:

    I agree with Robert - that jurors are simply disagreeing about exactly what was said at trial. I think some jurors were napping when they shoulda been paying more attention. But I don’t think this current jury request really means much at all right now as far as predicting an outcome.

  20. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:47 pm:

    ===But why wouldn’t the jurors be allowed to get transcripts of the testimonies as a whole, other than the practicality of it?===

    The transcripts include things discussed outside of the jury’s presence.

  21. - girllawyer - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:51 pm:

    Even if a trial lasts only three days it is routine for jurors to ask for transcripts. They think transcripts magically come into being as the words are spoken. It is to be expected that 12 jurors will have different recollections of certain details. I once served on a jury and as at attorney was shocked by how incorrectly (based on my totally opposite recollection)one juror remembered one witness’ testimony. Nevertheless, I think we reached a just verdict.

  22. - jaded voter - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:57 pm:

    I predict Zorn better get his hung jury predictions ready.

    And does anyone remember what Zorn was saying about Blago back when he first won the Gov seat?

  23. - zatoichi - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 2:18 pm:

    Nothing better for future employment /consulting/ motivational speaker options then to have your attorney, during a trial, use the excuse that you ‘are not the sharpest knife’ and you are not too bright. How many years can he keep claiming he can prove his innocence if just given a chance after passing on the first real opportunity? When it comes time to walk the talk, he apparently prefers sitting than actually putting any real effort into something. Too bad. Self created situation.

  24. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 2:24 pm:

    ===after passing on the first real opportunity===


    House impeachment committee, Senate trial, now this.

  25. - Huh? - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 3:44 pm:

    Before dead meat can practice law, he will have to renew his law license. Right now, he is not authorized to practice law in Illinois.

    Given his recent trouble, I would think that renewing his license will be very difficult.

  26. - Son of Ben - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 4:37 pm:

    “Given his recent trouble, I would think that renewing his license will be very difficult.”

    Nope. Just pay your dues and complete your CLE.

    Assuming the ARDC doesn’t open an investigation, and if he isn’t a felon and no one is complaining about his fitness to practice law, I don’t see why they would.

  27. - Steve Downstate - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 4:39 pm:

    Zorn’s predictions seem sound, except he forgot Blago inevitably pushing hard for a pardon. And if he’s out in ten years or less, I can easily see him moving to another state under the illusion that he could get himself elected to something there. He’ll sell himself as an underdog, a man who is able to reform the system because he now fully understands what is wrong with the system. He’ll reference his prison work duty to show that he understands what working people go through, how their backs ache, how they feel when the quality of their work isn’t appreciated by their bosses. He’ll still be all about fighting for “the people,” at least in his own mind and his stump speech rhetoric. I pity whoever’s state he ends up moving to for redemption. But if he does that, at least he’ll no longer be the mosquito in our tent.

  28. - anon - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 5:46 pm:

    On Blago’s ability to practice law if acquitted:

    “Records obtained by ABC7 Chicago show Blagojevich’s law license has been inactive since 2002. For a fee, he could easily practice again.”

    Blago’s impeachment does not impair his law license. A conviction might well cause the ARDC to suspend or revoke the license, something Blago could later ask to be reinstated.

    Of course, there would be the matter of finding clients…

    Real work would not appear the best avenue for Rod to make a living.

  29. - Gregor - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 5:51 pm:

    You know, I think the transcript request is a good thing. Sam Junior’s rope-a-dope was tactical: he knew Zagel would knock down almost every objectionable comment and suggestion Sam made, but Sam knows you can’t “un-hear” a comment once it is said aloud in the courtroom. He wanted to make those leading statements and misdirections in hopes some would stick with jurors anyhow. But the transcripts will be scrubbed of anything like that before they get to the jurors. Only the actual questions that were allowed, and the actual answers, will be read. And I think we’re all mostly confident that those statements are doom for Blago.

  30. - Eric Zorn - Saturday, Jul 31, 10 @ 3:21 pm:

    Does anyone remember what I was saying about GNad in the early years? I doubt it. But Nexis does:

  31. - Newsclown - Saturday, Jul 31, 10 @ 5:42 pm:

    Theme song next week?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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