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Juror glitch on first day of Cellini deliberations

Thursday, Oct 27, 2011

* A slight delay

The federal jury weighing the fate of Springfield power broker William Cellini was sent home early today so lawyers could try to resolve one of the first written questions submitted by the panel on its initial day of deliberations.

Jurors asked that they be given every slide shown during the 3 ½-week trial. The slides are demonstrative exhibits that had not been admitted into evidence, raising an issue for the lawyers to decide in consultation with U.S. District Judge James Zagel.

The judge asked lawyers to reconvene in his courtroom at 8:45 a.m. Thursday to decide what to do.

* The jurors had another, more personal, request

Just hours after they began deliberating William Cellini’s fate, federal jurors had a burning question for the judge:

Can we take smoke breaks?

The answer was yes. And four or five people on the 12-member panel were seen being escorted outside the building where they could light up.

* And here’s a Cellini story I missed earlier this week

In their final push to take down a well-connected Illinois millionaire, prosecutors focused on one sound Tuesday - a laugh - as they tried to convince jurors he was in on a scheme to extort campaign cash from a Hollywood producer for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

It was part of prosecutors’ closing argument against William Cellini, who denies that he tried to shakedown the Oscar-winning producer of “Million Dollar Baby” for $1.5 million in 2004. Cellini, whose influence among Illinois politicians once earned him the nickname The King of Clout, is the last to go on trial in the federal investigation of the ousted Democratic governor.

On secret FBI recordings that prosecutors played over courtroom speakers Tuesday, Cellini seems to chuckle as he talks on the phone about the extortion with another man accused in the alleged crime.

“And the defendant is laughing: That is what corruption sounds like,” government attorney Julie Porter told jurors, her voice rising.

* I’m not sure if there will be much Tweeting, but here’s a ScribbleLive thingy just in case something big happens

- Posted by Rich Miller        

4 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 27, 11 @ 8:36 am:

    –“And the defendant is laughing: That is what corruption sounds like,” government attorney Julie Porter told jurors, her voice rising.–

    That seemed a little over-the-top to me.


  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 27, 11 @ 9:09 am:

    Word, Julie Porter’s line comes from the foreman of the Sorich trial:

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-07-09/news/0607090376_1_jurors-robert-sorich-jobs


  3. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 27, 11 @ 11:08 am:

    According to the Trib, a juror has been excused based on an unspecified conflict of interest and the jury has had to start over with an alternate.


  4. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Oct 27, 11 @ 12:41 pm:

    Can we start an e-mail campaign to urge the House Ethics Committee to put Rob’s testimony on CSPAN? Talk about must see TV. Program the DVR and make some popcorn!

    As Flounder would say, “oh boy is this great!”


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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