* 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…