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*** UPDATE 1 - 9:22 am *** From the Chicago News Coop

Rod Blagojevich’s attorneys will rest their case today without calling a single witness to the stand, according to Robert Blagojevich’s attorney Michael Ettinger. In addition, the defense has asked Judge James Zagel to wait until Monday for closing arguments.

Walking into the Dirksen Federal Building Wednesday morning, Blagojevich attorneys Sam Adam Sr. and Sam Adam Jr. said they would make a statement after speaking with the judge.

*** UPDATE 2 - 9:24 am *** CBS2

The trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich appears to be coming to a sudden and unexpected end, as defense attorneys indicated before court began Wednesday that Blagojevich would not be taking the stand, despite repeated promises over the past 19 months that he would.

Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam Jr. told reporters on his way to the courtroom that they would make an official decision once the trial resumed and that the governor would then come down and make a statement.

That would indicated that the former governor would not be testifying and that his defense team would rest its case without calling any witnesses.

Man, I hope somebody has live video of that.

*** UPDATE 3 - 9:28 am *** CBS2 will have live video of the Blagojevich availability I’m told. I’ll let you know what’s going on. Meanwhile, Sun-Times

It looks like former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich hasn’t changed his mind about not testifying in his own defense against corruption charges, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times this morning.

*** UPDATE 4 - 9:35 am *** Rich Samuels makes a good point on his Twitter page…

Remember at George Ryan’s indictment Dan Webb telling us the ex-Gov would take the stand at trial. Didn’t happen, of course

*** UPDATE 5 - 9:41 am *** I’m pretty sure the live CBS2 video of the press conference will be at this link. I’ll let you know when it starts.

*** UPDATE 6 - 9:48 am *** Strike that. You’ll be clicking here for the live CBS2 feed instead.

*** UPDATE 7 - 9:56 am *** A little courtroom color from the Sun-Times…

At 9:40, the media is still cordoned off from entering the courtroom — but the tension is already palpable. One reporter is sweating profusely, wiping sweat with a napkin. Another spoke of feeling unnerved.

A security officer just announced that whoever doesn’t have a ticket should go to the overflow room on the 14th floor now, because there will be no room.

The overflow room is crowded, too. The usually-empty benches for the public are filled with people, and new media faces are vying for precious seats at the tables. Even the jury box is full of spectators.

*** UPDATE 8 - 9:59 am *** Interesting blog post by WBEZ’s reporter

This is not a “prosecution hasn’t proved anything” defense. This is a strategic move to limit the damages. The prosecution had these two witnesses listed at the beginning of the trial: Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine. The prosecution chose not to put them up in their part of the case because they were waiting for the former governor to take the stand, spew long-winded and loose and then surprise/shock the world by bringing these men up to counter. So Blagojevich would say he never did anything wrong and then bam, two convicted businessmen would take the stand and debunk everything the gov said. The problem? The prosecution showed their hand. And the defense knew what was coming, so they called.

In my eyes, this is in-trial plea bargaining. The defense realizes that the big charges won’t stick and it is not worth the risk of the jury getting a whiff of Rezko and Levine. So they are settling in-court. Now maybe the prosecution didn’t do a good job of presenting their case. But really, this is about what they didn’t present. Two guys, two people with intimate knowledge that the jury would potentially use to make up their mind. The defense can’t take that chance.

Essentially, the Blagojevich defense is content on being convicted. They are hedging their bets that it will be for something small and hope to dodge the Rezko bullet which might have been the kill shot.


*** UPDATE 9 - 10:04 am *** NBC5 has its live camera up and running. Click here.

*** UPDATE 10 - 10:08 am *** They’re getting underway. Sun-Times

Finally, just before 10:00 — a half-hour later than usual — spectators have been let into the courtroom.

*** UPDATE 11 - 10:13 am *** NBC5 reports that the defense has just rested. “The case is over.” There will be no testimony by Rod Blagojevich.

*** UPDATE 12 - 10:18 am *** Via NBC5, the prosecution is introducing a new phone call recording as a rebuttal, so there won’t be a Blagojevich media avail for a bit yet.

*** UPDATE 13 - 10:28 am *** The jurors are filing out.

*** UPDATE 14 - 10:34 am *** The judge said the proceedings will resume Monday at 9:30. From NBC5

Rod Blagojevich stands before judge. Zagel: “Is it your personal decision not to testify?” Rod: “Yes”

*** UPDATE 15 - 10:35 am *** From the Sun-Times

The government calls one rebuttal witness for Robert Blagojevich, FBI agent Dan Cain, and played a couple recordings. The defense objected to the tapes, but the judge overruled.

One is a call from Dec. 5, 2008 at 8:02 a.m. in which Robert Blagojevich tells a Friends of Blagojevich assistant he doesn’t want to talk on the phone.

“I’d rather do it on the cell, where no one can hear us,” she says.

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Robert answers.

The government has rested its case.

*** UPDATE 16 - 10:37 am *** Blagojevich is already blaming his lawyers

As Rod #Blagojevich walks out od courtroom, with a big smile he says “Sometimes you have to listen to the advice of your lawyers”

*** UPDATE 17 - 10:39 am *** Carol Marin is now doing the live broadcast for NBC5. CLICK HERE TO WATCH.

*** UPDATE 18 - 10:42 am *** Hound

Moments after saying he wont testify, Rod #Blagojevich is in the courtroom signing autographs.

*** UPDATE 19 - 10:53 am *** Busted

Marshalls stopping Rod Blagojevich from giving autographs in courtroom


*** UPDATE 20 - 10:54 am *** More courtroom color

Rod is in a navy suit, Patti is wearing a summer dress and has a pair of dark circles under her eyes. She’s sitting next to her sister, Deb Mell. […]

After much anticipation, the scene was not a dramatic one. Judge James Zagel asked if Robert Blagojevich had any other evidence to offer. He didn’t.

In those seconds, Rod Blagojevich sat at the defense table, looking down. He neatly organized pens in front of his notebook.

Zagel then gestured to Sorosky, who stood up and announced it: “At this time, the defendant Rod Blagojevich would rest.”

The jurors all looked at the defendant’s table.

One jurors’ eyes widened hearing the news. Others, for the most part, remained without expression.

*** UPDATE 21 - 11:27 am *** Fox Chicago

Zagel asked if any of the attorneys had started to draft instructions for the jury on how to deliberate each charge. The prosecution spoke with Zagel about instructions on forfeiture charges.

Sorosky asked the judge for the prosecution to submit its version of instructions later Wednesday. The defense would look at it Thursday and possibly hold an instruction conference on Friday morning. Zagel scheduled it for Friday at 9 a.m.

Zagel also set a hearing for Thursday morning regarding the release of juror’s names based on a motion filed by several print media outlets, so it is heard before the issue possibly becomes moot.

Zagel said he’ll hear arguments for motions for judgment Wednesday afternoon and recessed court until 1:30 p.m

*** UPDATE 22 - 11:49 am *** Everybody’s still waiting

The press pit in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Building is packed to the gills as reporters wait for Rod Blagojevich and his team of lawyers to exit the building. We’ve been told they plan to talk.

Word is the team is now hunkered down in a conference room upstairs, possibly strategizing about what to say to the media. It’s hard to get definite word, though — court personnel has banned everyone from the courtroom area.

In the meantime, court security officers have had to bring out ropes to hold back the restless crowd of reporters and cameramen. It’s the first time that’s happened this entire trial. A mic stand is nearly toppling over with microphones.

[ *** END OF UPDATES *** ]

* According to the ever-reliable Sun-Times Blago Blog, we’ll know by 9:30 today whether Rod Blagojevich will testify

Ultimately, sources tell the Sun-Times that on Monday night, the attorneys and the former governor agreed that Blagojevich couldn’t withstand what promised to be a stinging cross examination. They were also concerned because during preparation he was reluctant to admit he made mistakes and couldn’t keep his answers brief.

Also factoring into the calculation: there was some concern that Tony Rezko might be called as a rebuttal witness by the prosecution if Blagojevich took the stand.

Sorosky conceded that without Blagojevich on the stand it closed the door to calling any rebuttal witness — Rezko or otherwise.

The challenge now left for the defense: Sam Adam Jr. told jurors in his opening statement they would hear from Rod Blagojevich. Judge James Zagel will tell jurors they aren’t allowed to hold the decision not to testify against a defendant.

I’ll be clicking this link over and over again. I’m kinda amazed that they don’t have Google ads on their posts. I know the Blago Blog is getting plenty of traffic during this ordeal.

* Second-most interesting thing to come out of yesterday’s trial. The State Police swept Blagojevich’s campaign office for bugs

After the news about Wyma [cooperating with the feds and helping them plant bugs] came out, Robert testifies, someone on the governor’s team had the Illinois State Police sweep the Friends of Blagojevich office for bugs on Dec. 8, 2008 — but Robert said he wasn’t concerned.

“Having the place swept for wires and bugs didn’t matter to me. We were doing nothing improper,” Robert testifies. “I never directed it. if Rod did, I’m not aware of it.”

Robert testifies that the order came from Chrissy Jacobs, a “politically connected” administrative assistant who was “very concerned about eavesdropping” and “a very excitable personality.”

The fact that the FOB offices may have been swept for bugs is a new revelation. Ultimately it did no good, or came too late — the FBI had bugs up already in the office, in addition to tapping numerous phone lines. And the governor was arrested the next day.

Also, this wasn’t the first time that an Illinois governor had used state police to try to combat federal investigators. A top aide to now-imprisoned Gov. George Ryan had state troopers do an illegal sweep of that governor’s Rosemont campaign office during his investigation in fall 1994.

* Roundup…

* Rod Blagojevich’s quotes about planning to testify: “Let me tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to do what my accusers and political enemies have been doing, and that is talk about this case in 30-second sound bites on “Meet the Press” or on the TV news. Now, I’m dying to answer these charges. I am dying to show you how innocent I am. And I want to assure everyone who’s here and everyone who’s listening that I intend to answer every allegation that comes my way. However, I intend to answer them in the appropriate forum — in a court of law.” — Dec. 19, 2008, news conference.

* No Blago No Plea: As far as the rumor that Blagojevich was ready to take a plea deal, the source called that, “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”

* Experts: Blagojevich Makes a Good Call

* With Testimony, Blago Risks Digging Himself Deeper: Former Federal Prosecutor Gil Soffer

* Blagojevich Lawyers Divided on Whether Ex-Gov Should Testify

* Kadner: If Blago defense rests, Jackson the winner

* Tribune: Rod? Speechless?

* Brown: You’d think he’d be ashamed to back down now

* Sneed: Is Blagojevich trial over?

* Defense Rests for Robert Blagojevich

* Robert Blagojevich: “This whole experience has been a test”

* Robert Blagojevich: Blago campaign worker had state troopers sweep office for bugs the day before his arrest

* Nayak re-emerges as key figure in Blagojevich case

* Robert Blagojevich: I had “no problem” passing my brother’s message on to Raghu Nayak

* Robert Blagojevich: Raghu Nayak, other Indian fund-raisers were “awkward and clumsy and naive in our political system”

* Local Indian leaders ‘clumsy’ in pushing Jackson Jr., Rob says

* Robert Blagojevich: $6M Jackson emissary Raghu Nayak is a “likable exaggerator”

* No foot-dragging on Senate pick, brother says

* Protecting brother from ‘land mines’

* Blagojevich trial: Prosecutors work up to key phone call in Robert Blagojevich cross-examination

* Robert Blagojevich: I wish John McCain would have won

* Robert Blagojevich on cross: Sometimes government and fund-raising “bleed over”

* Robert Blago: ‘I Was In A War With The Government’

* ‘It’s What Politicians Do,’ Rob Blagojevich Says

* Robert Blagojevich: As a fund-raiser, “outrageous” requests from donors are part of the job

* Robert Blagojevich: Hospital CEO was just a name on a fund-raising list — not a target of pay-to-play

* Rob denies pressuring hospital CEO for campaign cash

* Rob: No jobs for donations

* Robert Blagojevich unapologetic on brother’s Cabinet seat hopes: “It would be a good fit”

* Robert Blagojevich: “That’s a leap I will no way step into”

posted by Rich Miller
Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:17 am


  1. The “naive” Indian Americans may not have been that naive. Evidently, despite presumably being from elsewhere initially, they took an outsider’s look at Illinois state politics and came to that entirely undertandable conclusion that in Illinois, government is for sale.

    And it still is.

    Comment by cassandra Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:25 am

  2. This has nothing to do with the lawyers. They work for Rod. Rod has made the decision not to testify. And why ?
    Because he is a lying little weasel. He knows the prosecution is going to humiliate him.
    Defense attorney’s always say the prosecution hasn’t proven their case when the defense has no case to present and are losing. Never works.
    The prosecution doesn’t need to prove anything. Rod’s own big mouth will convict him. The prosecution witness’ are just icing on the cake.

    Comment by Windy City Mama Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:28 am

  3. I have to imagine that the Republicans are bummed that this trial appears to be ending so early and with a possible fizzle.

    Comment by anon Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:30 am

  4. politicians in both sides of the aisle are breathing a huge sigh of relief…

    Comment by Loop Lady Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:30 am

  5. I wonder why the defense won’t, at least, call Jarrett and Emanuel. They’ve indicated that they were not aware of anything hinky regarding the Senate seat. Emanuel told the FBI that, and that’s as good as sworn testimony.

    Some top White House folks saying, in effect, Rod did nothing wrong that we know about, would seem to be a positive.

    Comment by wordslinger Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:32 am

  6. 2 thoughts:

    Brown gets it right: “Chicken!”

    Get ready for the discussion of the wookie. It’s coming up in closing.

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:32 am

  7. You gotta love Kass today. He throws the testicular virility right back at Rod.

    Comment by Windy City Mama Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:34 am

  8. “They were also concerned because during preparation he was reluctant to admit he made mistakes and couldn’t keep his answers brief.”

    Man, does that sum up this guy or what? Even at the 11th hour his attorneys couldn’t get him to focus enough to help himself. A true politician to the end.

    Adam Jr. said the prosecution case was nonexistent. I think he meant to say that about his own case. We could have a verdict by next Wednesday at this rate.

    Comment by Stooges Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:38 am

  9. I know this is an unpopular opinion - but if we can put our biases aside and look at this objectively, you might find that this could be a huge gaffe for the PROSECUTION.

    They obviously presented only half their case with the thought that Blago would testify and they’d slam him with the cross and rebuttal witnesses. Well, now they are stuck with only half a case, which if you ask people on the street (not us insiders)is a little weak. They gambled - trusting Rod and his lawyers at their word - that they’d get to use some of the more damning stuff later (like they did with Rob). Well, now they are stuck.

    Say want you want about the Adams’, they just may be having the last laugh.

    Comment by outfoxed Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:43 am

  10. ===which if you ask people on the street (not us insiders)is a little weak===

    Yeah, well, it’s the jurors you should be concerned about.

    But, I do see your point.

    Comment by Rich Miller Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:44 am

  11. Of course this also provides extra ammunition to the tinfoil hatters who will insist (and in fact are already doing so on some blogs) that Rod must have been “persuaded” to keep quiet in order to protect people higher up, yada yada.

    Comment by Secret Square Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:48 am

  12. Outfoxed, I see your point too. But you’ve got to assume that the prosecution game planned for this scenario all long. Everybody said Rod would be a fool to take the stand. (Actually he’s a fool either way.) For sure they left some good stuff on the cutting room floor but I can’t imagine they didn’t see this as a very real possibility.

    Comment by And I Approved This Message Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:51 am

  13. Two quick things…I don’t know why anyone would be surprised that the State Police were asked to sweep for bugs. High level campaigns have been doing this for at least 30 years if not longer. I had it done on a 1980 U.S. Senate campaign as a result of Watergate. The other point is this. Apparently, either the State Police can’t sweep very effectively for electronic bugs, or they knew the FBI had bugs and maintained the G’s obvious request for cooperation in not reporting a positive hit for the bugs to Blagojevich or his staff.

    Comment by Commonsense in Illinois Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 9:53 am

  14. if the defense rests are there estimates on dates for sentencing or a result?

    Comment by shore Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:00 am

  15. the nbc5 feed is working better

    Comment by shore Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:01 am

  16. Commonsense, I don’t think anyone is surprised that he had his campaign office swept for bugs. The fact that he used state resources to sweep his political office is the galling thing.

    One of many galling things, to be sure.

    If the “I maintain a firewall” story he told to the feds was true, he would have hired a private firm to do the job.

    Comment by Way South of the Border Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:02 am

  17. I was truly hoping he was going to take the stand and was waiting all day yesterday- only to have my hopes dashed. I was very perplexed this morning watching the commentary on WGN news- they were of the opinion that Robert did so well in his testimony and on cross- and that his testimony actually helped Rod. I am not of that opinion.
    I thought it interesting but not surprising that the State Police was sent to “debug” his FOB office. It’s not surprising to me since back a couple years ago, when a very damaging report regarding an appointee of his that took more than $200,000 in kickbacks from DCFS contractors as well as theft, that had implications of Rod, was leaked to the press. Rod blamed the DCFS Director’s office at the time and those who conducted the investigation and sicked the State’s OIG on those individuals just to make them uncomfortable. There was other retribution as well.
    I can only assume this legal strategy is setting the stage for the appeal and will most definitely include the defense’s issues with Zagel.

    Comment by Car Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:04 am

  18. “I have nothing to fear but the truth.” Anyone remember that famous quote?

    Oh how smug and bragging Blago was when he had not heard the tapes (”let’s hear all of the tapes”). I personally will always bet on Patrick Fitzgerald when he goes after an Illinois politician. Turn out the lights, the party’s over!!!!

    Comment by Little Egypt Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:07 am

  19. Outfoxed, the prosecution played this the only way they could. As shown by the cross of Robert Blagojevich, there’s a ton of stuff that isn’t directly relevant but would be helpful on cross. But with Zagel running a tight ship, that couldn’t come in during the prosecution’s case in chief. Similarly, Rezko and/or Levine are effective rebuttal witnesses, where there testimony would be pointed and destructive to the one person as slimy as either of them, but horrible as direct witnesses. Even Zagel said as much. And contrary to Adams’ press statements, the prosecution was careful to never say Rezko or Levine would testify in this case.

    So no, the prosecution doesn’t get to put on its ideal case. But what it put out there (especially in the absence of any defense) should be more than enough to get a conviction. Particularly since the jury remembers vividly all the talk in Adams, Jr.’s opening about how Rod was the one innocent man and tapes/testimony would prove it. I suspect if anything, Schar’s ticked because crossing Rod was going to be the highlight of his career to date. Plus, it would irk me a lot if I just had to brief a response to all the Adams accusations about how the prosecution was sandbagging in regards to ending its case earlier than projected and giving them several extra days to get the (nonexistent) defense ready.

    Comment by Berkeley Bear Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:07 am

  20. So the defense is to try and win on appeal? Blago knows nothing but lying so why should we be surprised he backed off his 19 month nonsense of can’t wait to testify?

    Comment by ourMagician Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:08 am

  21. I guess we’ll have to wait Blago to write a book before we hear his version of the story. Will they sell it as fiction or non-fiction?

    Comment by Aldyth Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:11 am

  22. # Ward_Room

    Rod #Blagojevich is not testifying on his behalf half a minute ago via txt

    Comment by Anonymous Coward Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:12 am

  23. nbc: defense has rested, case is over.

    Comment by shore Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:12 am

  24. Defense rests.

    Comment by b-non Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:13 am

  25. NBC just reported that the defense has rested. (From the live feed.)

    Comment by Boone Logan Square Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:13 am

  26. Outfoxed, the prosecution is more than happy to not put Levine and Rezco on the stand who could be ripped apart by the defense. Needless to say, Blago should have cut a deal.

    Comment by Phineas J. Whoopee Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:15 am

  27. Also surprised prosecution was so thrown off balance by his not taking the stand. The WBEZ in-trial sentencing theory seems spot-on right now.

    Comment by Mark Buerhle Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:15 am

  28. NBC: Prosecution is introducing a phone call in rebuttal.

    Comment by Boone Logan Square Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:17 am

  29. I’m not buying the BEZ analysis. Rod doesn’t want to spend one day in jail. His lawyers could point out that Rezko has motive to play ball with the government — he hasn’t been sentenced yet.

    Also, there’s the matter of the letter where Rezko told his judge that the government was pressuring him to lie about Blago and Obama.

    I think they’re just rolling the bones that the fact that he’s broke proves he wasn’t a crook. Also, I’m sure Rod’s testicular virility receded after the cross of Robert. He would have convicted himself ten times on the stand.

    Comment by wordslinger Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:20 am

  30. It could be very dangerous for the defense to have this case thrown out on appeal. The government could retry the case with a whole new strategy that lets the light shine on a lot more dirt. The defense may be much better off, if they end up light sentence, to serve the time and forget about an appeal. Probably not likely to happen given Blago’s arrogance but it makes for interesting speculation.

    Comment by Fed Up Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:30 am

  31. i wonder what taped call the prosecution has held and will now play in rebuttal? Man, this could be a real bombshell, huh?

    Comment by anon Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:32 am

  32. Sun-Times blog: The government calls one rebuttal witness for Robert Blagojevich, FBI agent Dan Cain, and played a couple recordings. The defense objected to the tapes, but the judge overruled.

    One is a call from Dec. 5, 2008 at 8:02 a.m. in which Robert Blagojevich tells a Friends of Blagojevich assistant he doesn’t want to talk on the phone.

    “I’d rather do it on the cell, where no one can hear us,” she says.

    “Oh, I don’t know about that,” Robert answers.

    The government has rested its case.

    Comment by Boone Logan Square Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:35 am

  33. The defense is definitely playing it safe, but I don’t think it will matter much. After five weeks of devastating testimony, it is clear to me that the prosecution met its burden of proof.

    Adam will say in his close that Rod would have testified, but they prosecution didn’t prove anything. I think the jurors will see through the smokescreen without much trouble.

    It’s all about jury instructions now. Once Zagel outlines for the jury how they should rule on each charge, it will be over for Rod within a day or two.

    Comment by 47th Ward Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:37 am

  34. Wow. Carol Marin powdering her face on camera. You didn’t used to get these inside looks before the Internet. Now she’s “ready to go.”

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:38 am

  35. natashakorecki

    Moments after saying he wont testify, Rod #Blagojevich is in the courtroom signing autographs.

    Comment by Anonymous Coward Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:42 am

  36. Yup 47th, probably 24 out of 24. Which makes me wonder how anyone can think the defense is playing it safe. Too me, they had nothing to lose with Blago bleating. Their only hope is getting one jurer charmed by his schtick so they can get a mistrial.

    Comment by Phineas J. Whoopee Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:46 am

  37. Given the number of charges in the indictment, it’s entirely possible the jury may haggle over a couple of them for several days. I’m curious to see if the jury will convict on all charges after this relatively brief (from both sides) case.

    Comment by Boone Logan Square Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:47 am

  38. So, when do we start the pool on how long the jury will deliberate? I call one day.

    Comment by Montrose Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:48 am

  39. Wishful thinking on your part 47. There was no devastating testimony, no evidence what so ever of any wrong doing. What law was broken except for the law that super Fitzie made up to try to railroad Rod? Sure, Rod is a loudmouth who is not too bright with a bad work ethic and champaign tastes.. Just like a lot of other politicianns in Illinois. Shooting your mouth off with friends on the phone is not illegal. Making quid pro quo deals with other political hacks is commonplace and should not be subject to selective prosecution by an over reaching AUSA with political aspirations. There is no case. They couldn’t make a case. They didn’t make a case. Rod will walk and rightly so.

    Comment by Bill Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:50 am

  40. I won’t be surprised if he beats the rap.

    Most overhyped case ever.

    Comment by just sayin' Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:51 am

  41. “champaign tastes”…Rod never had a taste for anything south of Wrigley Field.

    Comment by Boone Logan Square Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:52 am

  42. ===There is no case. They couldn’t make a case. They didn’t make a case.===

    Oh look, a Wookie!

    Thanks for the comic relief Bill.

    Comment by 47th Ward Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:54 am

  43. I’m with 47th Ward — the only person I can recall who doesn’t testify and beats the rap was OJ Simpson. And since OJ, people seem very cynical of juries, even though they usually take things very seriously and reach the right decision (unlike, say, the anointed, campaign-contribution-collecting local “judges” who let every corrupt or drunk cop off the hook). If Blago had some possible good will with Judge Zagel as far as sentencing goes this might make sense, but he doesn’t - far from it. So, imho, it’s a bad move.

    Comment by lake county democrat Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:56 am

  44. So many other just got a free pass. Very disappointing.

    Comment by Leave a Light on George Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:56 am

  45. You’re welcome. Anybody want to start a poll on how long it takes Obama to get rid of that clown Fitzgerald after this travesty ends with acquital?

    Comment by Bill Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:56 am

  46. What was proven? Not a whole lot other than Rod is an unethical idiot who was bad at his job and the leader of a Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.

    Does Vegas have a line posted on the results?

    Comment by Ben Gazzara Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 10:59 am

  47. The reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kevin McDermott, just reported on Twitter that during a break a few moments ago, Blago was signing courtroom “Blago trial” tickets for spectators. The bailiff made him stop. Love it!

    Comment by Steve Downstate Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:00 am

  48. “Anyone want to start a poll on how long it takes Obama to get rid of that clown Fitzgerald after this travesty ends with acquital?”

    It will happen by September 31st ;-)

    Comment by Secret Square Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:00 am

  49. a…a…acquital?

    Comment by Phineas J. Whoopee Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:01 am

  50. Those Blago trial tickets signed by Blago…how many minutes until the first one shows up on eBay? (No, I wouldn’t bid on one if my life depended on it.)

    Comment by Steve Downstate Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:04 am

  51. Wow, Bill. Stop following Sam Jr.’s defense and looking at the planet Endor. The jury won’t be. They heard the tapes and the witnesses.

    Comment by Anonymous Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:04 am

  52. If Blago doesn’t get the justice Illinoisans believe he deserves, they will pound every Democrat into dust this November.

    Blago’s sentence has to satisfy, or there will be hell to pay.

    Comment by VanillaMan Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:07 am

  53. Rich,

    it is hilarious listening to the Chicago TV reporters cross-talk and chit-chat to each other in preparation via this link:

    Comment by George Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:10 am

  54. Surprised. Praise be to Zorn, the evil sorcerer.

    Comment by Scooby Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:11 am

  55. Bill. You sir, are the true life blood of this blog. Thanks for putting a smile on my face.

    Comment by Living in Oklahoma Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:13 am

  56. Also, minor pet peeve, I keep seeing people write that “the defense rested without calling a single witness”, such as this from the Cubs paper, but that’s not true. The defense called two witnesses, Rob and Julie Blagojevich.

    Comment by Scooby Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:14 am

  57. um VM, it aint just the Dems…when does Cellinis trial begin? Before the November election…the mud is just begining to be schmeared….

    Comment by Loop Lady Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:16 am

  58. *If Blago doesn’t get the justice Illinoisans believe he deserves, they will pound every Democrat into dust this November.*

    Huh? A jury decides to find him not guilty and the voters will blame/take it on the dems? Give people a little more credit.

    Comment by Montrose Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:16 am

  59. Re Bill- your comment about “selective prosecutions” implicitly states that he did something illegal. And if you think Fitzgerald has political aspirations I think you need to question why he hasn’t acted on them in the past 20 years. Why go into politics when you’re much more effective in your current position in cleaning up politics.

    I will give you that he crossed the line of legal ethics in making those extra judicial remarks when Rod was arrested. Stuff like that could be subject to censure.

    I think overall both sides played their cards right and now it’s in the hands of our peers. It would have been a devastating mistake to put Rid up there, and ultimately it’s the clients decision so don’t let Rod, a lawyer, fool you by saying “on the advice of counsel.”. This guy is a former muni. Pros. Let’s not forget that.

    And re the appeal comments, if your strategy at trial is to win on appeal, you’ve got serious issues. You fight the battles infront of you first. And I think resting should grant them an acquittal on at least a few of the 24. But there’s no way a full acquittal on all charges happens here. Especially on the Childrens Memorial stuff. When you have an upstanding director testify that he was personally told to donate in exchange for payments to a childrens hospital, and then you don’t even put on your own witness to dispute it, it’s not looking good. Children and hospitals resonate with people. Period. Also the Hollyhood holdup seems a likely conviction.

    Not sure about the senate seat stuff, I think that could be viewed as regular horse trading within the biz.

    The big unspokenwinner here I think is Robert. I thought he came across as pretty believable, human, and even prideful in his brother. I’d say Robert walks on all charges here. Ettinger is very competent counsel. I think he minimized damage to his client. And Robert comes across as defending himself while the jurors probably think “what does rod have to hide.”

    My guess: Rod - guilty on 18 charges
    Rob- walks

    Ps: does anyone know what it is that Robert does to be a “successful business man?”. I’m really confused. So did he go through with the 300 dollar property course and now he’s succesful?

    Comment by Patriot Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:16 am

  60. Is “*** UPDATED x20 ***” a record for Rich? Just wondering.

    And do I hear x21? Anyone?

    Comment by Just a Reader Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:19 am

  61. Sorry Bill Fitzgerald is here to stay. What a big tuff guy calling him a clown. Kinda reminds be of the childish sucker punches Blago throws.

    Comment by Windy City Mama Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:19 am

  62. Time for Judgement Day Is On The Way to change his/her moniker to “Judgement Day Is Here!”

    Comment by Secret Square Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:21 am

  63. Not sure why people are so hard on Fitz. Even Blago’s defense, if he would have made one, was that he didn’t know he was breaking the laws. How can you fault a prosecutor from stopping someone from a crime spree-whether it was consciously or not?

    Comment by Phineas J. Whoopee Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:23 am

  64. No, actually, the record is probably Updated X51 which occurred (fittingly enough) on the day of George Ryan’s verdict. Yes, I went back and read those posts yesterday…. what a trip.

    Comment by Secret Square Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:23 am

  65. Whether Rod gets a light sentence or 40 years hard labor makes little difference. His claim has always been ‘give me the opportunity to show my innocence’. He has been given that opportunity in a court of law and he declined to step up. By declining he is banking on the ‘I’m am an innocent dupe’ ploy, but the tapes show a very different picture. Bad attorney advice? Maybe, but in the end Rod declined to testify. So what does he do now? Get back on the talk show circuit? Write a book? Who would care? He had his shot with virility and he has come up wimp when it came time to backup all his past statements. He is now a footnote and talk show fodder. Did the prosecution hold back? I cannot think of any reason to put your best stuff out until you see the opponent’s game plan. Do intense prep/homework but show just enough to win.

    I can see him immortalized as a verb: to blago - make unkept grandiose promises/claims. He blagoed out of the wedding at the last minute.

    Comment by zatoichi Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:26 am

  66. We are too close to November to have another Blagojevich issue arise. If Blagojevich doesn’t receive justice in court that satisfies Illinoisans fed up with everything they feel he represents, they will take it out in the voting booth.

    Voters have been patiently waiting and letting our courts determine Blagojevich’s fate. Don’t interpret the courteous silence as disinterest. Illinoisans are holding back their opinions on this. They will respond positively or negatively depending on the justice metered out to Blagojevich.

    His sentence needs to match expectations, or there will be hell to pay in November.

    Comment by VanillaMan Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:28 am

  67. Yes, that George Ryan verdict thread is very trippy to read:

    Comment by George Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:28 am

  68. Vanilla Man,

    So, by your statement, Rod is the Christ-like figure that he imagines. Rod will suffer for the sins of the Illinois Democratic Party. Awesome.

    As a result, maybe we can invent an annual Blagofestivus state wide holiday where we give cash filled envelopes to our children to celebrate the birth of the party savior, etc.

    Comment by Cuban Pilot Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:32 am

  69. Fitz is untouchable. He’ll serve his four-year term if he chooses to. Obama has enough on his plate without getting involved in this cesspool. There’s no upside.

    Comment by wordslinger Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:35 am

  70. Christ-like? Are you nuts?

    Voters will determine the final chapter in the Blagojevich political saga. If they do not get what they expect from our judicial system, they will take it out on other elected officials because Blagojevich is to them, a political character. He was the highest ranking elected government official in Illinois.

    Your posting is deliberately silly in order to make my previous postings look unhinged. I don’t believe they are.

    If you do, tell me why voters would be willing to sit back and ignor a situation where Blagojevich gets off easy. Don’t attack me. Challenge my argument.

    Comment by VanillaMan Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:43 am

  71. NBC5 turned off its live feed for now. That’s too bad; I was enjoying hearing the reporters talking about whether this waiting game was a contest to see whose legs would fall asleep first.

    Comment by Tim Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:44 am

  72. Scooby — Blago’s defense did rest without calling witnesses. Robert testified in his own defense.

    Vanilla Man — I would challenge your argument by saying that if Blago’s aquitted or his sentence is unsatisfactory, voters won’t be fired up to vote all the bums/Dems out. I predict that they will be so exasperated that someone they preceive as being so obviously guilty cannot even be convicted or seriously punished. Corruption is alive and kicking in Illinois. Therefore, they simply will not turn out in Nov. (which is ultimately good for Dems).

    Comment by Pembleton Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:51 am

  73. I think these two item sum up the man, the best:

    Rod Blagojevich stands before judge. Zagel: “Is it your personal decision not to testify?” Rod: “Yes”

    As Rod Blagojevich walks out od courtroom, with a big smile he says “Sometimes you have to listen to the advice of your lawyers”

    Can’t ever accept personal responsibility, even minutes after accepting it. Thanks Democrats for foisting this train wreck on the state of Illinois.

    Comment by Civilian Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:53 am

  74. From update 43 in George’s ryan trial link: “We can’t afford as a state to go back to the corruption and mismanagement that gave us a $5 billion deficit and today’ verdict.”

    Nope, Blago took it to $13B deficit with even more corruption and mismanagement.

    Comment by Anon Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 11:59 am

  75. If Rod is acquitted will Quinn’s new slogan be “See. I told you Rod was honest in everything he does.”

    Comment by Leave a Light on George Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 12:03 pm

  76. This guy is probably the worst AUSA in the history of the office. If anything has “Lincoln rolling over in his grave” it is that fitzie gets away with this nonsense over and over again. Ask that CIA lady and her husband if fitzie is politically motivated.
    Not Guilty on all counts for Rob and Rod.

    Comment by Bill Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 12:04 pm

  77. More likely, VMan and Pembleton, is that since the trial was so short (and over the summer), there will be a lesser impact on November voting than the trial would have had otherwise.

    Election is 4 months away. That’s an awfully long time.

    Comment by George Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 12:05 pm

  78. Is Rod going for a mistrial? They presumably have some planned basis for appeal.

    Comment by Peggy SO-IL Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 12:05 pm

  79. Bill…

    - Bill - Tuesday, Dec 9, 08 @ 8:26 am:


    Comment by George Wednesday, Jul 21, 10 @ 12:07 pm

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