* JoAnn Chiakulas, the lone holdout juror on several Blagojevich counts, takes on her critics…
In the week since the trial’s end, Chiakulas has been branded “the holdout” for her refusal to convict the ex-governor on the Senate seat allegations. Her life has been placed under a microscope, with some questioning whether her former government job or her ex-husband’s campaign donation to Blagojevich three decades after they divorced played a role in her decision. […]
Chiakulas, for her part, said she was a public servant hired during Gov. Jim Edgar’s administration. Her ex-husband was politically active before his death, but they were divorced more than 30 years ago.
She also said she did not know Blagojevich co-defendant Chris Kelly, who lived in the same subdivision as one of her relatives before committing suicide a year ago.
The inferences — along with suggestions that she’s “crazy” — anger Chiakulas. She said it upsets her that people want to find an ulterior motive for her decision, rather than believe it’s possible that the prosecution had not proved its case.
“It was something that I took seriously and didn’t ask for,” she said. “And then to be treated the way I’ve been treated, it makes me wonder about being a juror and the system itself.”
Go read the whole thing.
* Prosecutors didn’t offer Rod Blagojevich much of a deal…
But just the night before, federal prosecutors were on the phone offering Robert Blagojevich something he always wanted: a separate trial from his celebrity brother.
* Good analysis by Patrick Collins…
Former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins said it was “extraordinarily rare” to drop a defendant in a high-profile case.
“I think what the government did today was both smart tactically and just,” Collins said.
Prosecutors likely recognized Robert Blagojevich was a sympathetic figure, that he would be difficult to convict in a retrial and that his testimony as a co-defendant could be helpful to his brother, Collins said.
“Tactically, dismissing him streamlines the case and partially rebuts the ‘persecution’ claims that Rod Blagojevich is making,” Collins said. “It helps the government in the court of public opinion — which does matter in this extraordinary case.”
* And in an unusual admission, Robert flat-out said that his statements to the press after the hung jury were designed to influence the next jury…
“The strategy was, it was a disappointment I wasn’t acquitted. It was important to reach the next jury pool. We had a 9-3 vote in my favor, so we came very close. And that was with a jury pool that had been polluted by [U.S. Attorney] Patrick Fitzgerald‘s press conference. So now that we had a trial, it was a good time for me to make a case, be interviewed, explain my situation, and emote whatever I could emote.
As far as I’m concerned, the decision by the U.S. attorney is a disappointment only because Ettinger had promised to call U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-2nd) as a witness at a retrial, along with the Indian-American businessman who allegedly told Robert he could raise $6 million if Jackson was appointed senator.
“The whole story” about the sale of the Senate seat will come out, Ettinger vowed, although he implied it would prove there was no deal to sell that seat.
I still think the public is owed an explanation, some detail, whether or not it helps or damages the federal government’s case.
* Will the Wall Street Journal editorial board and national right wingers be funding part of Rod Blagojevich’s defense? Sneed…
Sneed hears inquiries have been made about privately funding additional attorneys for the retrial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
“The federal government will only pay for two attorneys for Blagojevich, but private donations could pay for other attorneys,” said a source.
“The inquiries are in the early stages, but there is talk about help on Rod’s retrial and some of the calls are from people unhappy with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald for the way he handled the Scooter Libby trial,” the source added.
* Adams stay on Blagojevich case - for now: Although they figure to face a more focused prosecution and with diminished resources at their disposal, Rod Blagojevich’s attorney Sam Adam says reports that he and his son will be leaving the former governor’s defense team are greatly exaggerated.
* Our Opinion: National media miss mark on Blagojevich
* Justice demands new trial for Blagojevich
* Two jurors happy with Robert Blagojevich decision
* Charges dropped against Blago’s brother
* Robert Blagojevich’s Million Dollar Defense
* Feds drop charges against Rob Blagojevich
* The Morning Drive Podcast: Rod Blagojevich is on his own in his upcoming re-trial
* Rod Blagojevich is lone target now that brother is cleared
* No new trial, but no vindication for Robert
* Judge says ex-gov’s retrial won’t start until January
* Blagojevich to be Retried in January