Supreme Court Refuses Former Gov. Ryan Appeal, Rezko Jury Still Out

The Supreme Court today refused to consider the appeal of former Illinois Governor George Ryan, who is serving a 6 1/2 year sentence on corruption charges.

In other Chicago corruption trial news, the Tony Rezko jury is still deliberationg. They've been meeting part-time over the past 14 days, putting in only 6 days of deliberations. But they must know they're slacking off. Today's reason for cutting out early after four days off was that a juror had a job interview to go to. In a note, the jury wrote:

the jury told the judge in the second part of its note that it will be working until 5:50 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The longer hours were "to help conclude our decision," the jury note said.

Friday is a no-deliberate day as one has child care problems that day. [More...]

A few states away, closing arguments are ongoing in Geoff Fieger's trial. Gerry Spence gave a "very theatrical" closing.

“If the government can do this to Mr. Fieger, the government can do this to any of us,” Spence said. He said the government prosecutors built their case on snippets, based on looking at Fieger with “the evil eye.” He said the government’s case was based on half truths, and political motivations. “If it’s a snippet, let’s nip it,” Spence urged jurors.

....If the contributions were illegal, Spence asked jurors, why didn’t Edwards’ return them and the IRS give back the federal taxes the firm paid on the bonuses? Spence said Fieger was a government trophy. “Jurors are the last wall against invading tyranny,” Spence said, urging them to acquit his client.

Spence told the jury this will be his last trial.

< The Moral Imperative For Super Delegates: The Will Of the People | Why Not Rudy For McCain's VP? >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    the verdict (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:24:34 PM EST
    I know that long trials have just as long deliberations, but it wouldn't be a foregone conclusion that if the trial is in the Chicagoland area, and they know that it could harm Obama in the political arena, they could be stonewalling.

    BTW, didn't Rove's name come up during this trial?  Obama and Rove being tied up in the same trial doesn't look good, either.

    I never knew you could just leave the (none / 0) (#7)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:27:19 PM EST
    deliberations almost at will.  Thought the court owned you until you were finished...

    They aren't "leaving at will" (none / 0) (#14)
    by scribe on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:36:53 PM EST
    Rather, what they are doing is scheduling the deliberations to accommodate particular jurors' inescapable committments - a job interview, a child-care issue.

    This is not to say that the deliberations can be strung out by all sorts of minor issues - but once the jury gets the case they are pretty much in charge of their schedule.  The judge can force them to come in (and, in some cases, they've been made to work Saturdays, etc.), but things rarely get to that point.

    This jury is not sequestered - so what I'm describing is how it will work.  If they were sequestered, there would be none of these interruptions.  But, there's no need to sequester them.


    And Even With Sequestered Juries (none / 0) (#19)
    by The Maven on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:50:09 PM EST
    there can be exceptions and arrangements made in order to avoid a mistrial.

    In a homicide case I sat on about a decade ago, where we were sequestered from the point when the judge charged us, we decided unanimously to cut short our deliberations on the fourth day to permit one of the jurors to attend her grandmother's 95th birthday celebration, about which she had been telling the rest of us since the beginning of the trial three weeks earlier -- the juror had spent close to a year planning the event, arranging for relatives to travel from around the country and Europe.  We requested that the court permit the juror to attend the function and return, and that we would recess for the duration.  Ultimately, the judge permitted her to go to the event, accompanied by a court officer.  The rest of us went back to the hotel and watched football for the afternoon.


    Thanks Scribe and Maven for the info. (none / 0) (#25)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:57:17 PM EST
    I was thinking that too. (none / 0) (#11)
    by masslib on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:34:38 PM EST
    I was thinking maybe that's why the defense get bringing up Obama.  Maybe he felt the jury would have a lot of Obama supporters that wouldn't want him embarrassed.

    Heh. (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:37:26 PM EST
    My favorite part is the first one. I like when corrupt Republicans have to stay in jail. :-)

    Well ... (none / 0) (#24)
    by Inky on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:57:17 PM EST
    Normally I'd agree, but I have some sympathy for the old codger. Isn't he the one who put a moratorium on Illinois' death penalty based on the state's shameful record of convicting innocent people and putting them on death row?

    Yes... (none / 0) (#32)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:16:58 PM EST
    but many corrupt and villainous characters have their good qualities. :-)

    Sorry to hear this will be (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by zfran on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:51:15 PM EST
    Spence's last trial. Really loved him during O.J. trial and he always felt very comfortable.

    He's earned his rest - (none / 0) (#30)
    by scribe on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:11:21 PM EST
    he's been trying cases since 1952 or thereabouts.

    Rezco will be a hung jury then. (none / 0) (#1)
    by masslib on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:18:26 PM EST
    Not often guilty when out this long, no?

    Not at all (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:20:31 PM EST
    It's not a long time to deliberate for such a long trial. You can't predict one way or the other from this.

    Ok, thanks. (none / 0) (#9)
    by masslib on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:33:27 PM EST
    Too much court tv for me, I guess.  I thought long deliberations usually leaned to no decision.

    Nope. All one can tell from a jury being out (none / 0) (#16)
    by scribe on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:39:21 PM EST
    is that the jury is still out.

    I once was one of the plaintiff's lawyers on a civil case where the jury was out for 9 days.  My most recent civil trial - about 8 weeks ago - the jury was out for 3 hours, and that included their lunch.

    Both verdicts were for the clients whose side I was on, BTW.


    Thanks, Donald. (none / 0) (#12)
    by masslib on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:34:54 PM EST
    This makes Jury Duty sound ... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Robot Porter on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:20:25 PM EST
    almost fun.



    In other New York public integrity news (none / 0) (#4)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:21:03 PM EST
    any word on whether the feds are going to go after Spitzer?

    I agree with you (none / 0) (#17)
    by riddlerandy on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:41:03 PM EST
    but that wouldn't stop this DOJ

    Mann Act (none / 0) (#18)
    by squeaky on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:41:11 PM EST
    Bringing a prostitute across state lines was being considered. It is a federal offence. Also there was talk of hiding money transactions from the IRS, but I think that was resolved.

    Mann Act (none / 0) (#22)
    by madamab on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:52:54 PM EST
    was being considered indeed, but since it had only been used once in the history of its existence, even this pathetic DOJ decided against it.

    Go read this article (none / 0) (#27)
    by scribe on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:04:10 PM EST
    in the New Yorker about Roger Stone.  It discusses (among many other things) his (alleged) tangential role in the Spitzer mess, and in getting the FBI interested in the working girls and the Governor.

    Interesting, in a "fill-in-the-background-blanks" sort of way.


    Geez (none / 0) (#34)
    by squeaky on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:25:22 PM EST
    What a creep. I wonder if the Nixon tattoo is for the pleasure of his non gay men friends who wind up having non gay sex with him, or perhaps it is to delight some babe with a strap on. Gross, I would not want to be in the same room with him.

    At least it's not all retirees (none / 0) (#5)
    by dianem on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:23:41 PM EST
    This is the price you pay for a "Jury of your peers". It would be nice if they could simply recess for a few hours for the job interview and if the courts could provide child care for the duration of the trial.

    Sadly, courts do not have (none / 0) (#29)
    by scribe on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:10:03 PM EST
    the resources for child care, etc.

    Most federal courthouses are almost tomb-like in their quietude.  Often, if there is one trial going on in the building, it is a lot.  The judges and clerks are in their chambers, working on papers, and coming out for the occasional motion argument, arraignment, or non-jury hearing or trial.  But trials - not that common any more.

    This is unlike the way state courts are. There are almost always trials and substantial slates of jurors being called in every Monday (or Tuesday after a Monday holiday), but even then, there are not the resources for all that.  My state pays jurors less than $10/day and no mileage.  That's not even enough to cover parking, let alone lunch.  There is no money for day care, etc.  


    Southern Dist. of CA is busy (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Tue May 27, 2008 at 10:06:56 PM EST
    trying immigration violation cases.  

    The Rezko Matter (none / 0) (#10)
    by Larry Bailey on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:34:29 PM EST
    Jeralyn, new member and past-2-month reader of your site and would be interested in your take on specifically the 2005 same-day, next-door real estate purchase by Senator Obama and his long-time patron and top donor (i.e., the original purchase of the two adjoining properties, not the subsequent deal over a sliver of land, which Senator Obama acknowledged as "boneheaded").

    Having purchased multiple properties in the past, I find it incredible that the Rezko-Obama deal could have occurred out of an innocent tip from Rezko to Obama (unless the two are somehow family). We Democrats have given Senator Obama a pass on that. I can't imagine the Republicans will do the same.  I know the local media (really, just mainly the Sun-Times) have questioned Senator Obama about this and have essentially run into the dead end of Senator Obama's denial of anything improper.  But, has any legal authority investigated that deal?  If not, why not?

    Thanks in advance.

    Rezko more fully explored in London Times (5.00 / 0) (#33)
    by befuddledvoter on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:18:06 PM EST
    The london Times online has more fully explored Obama/Rezko/Auchi than the home papers.  You may want to look there and just do a simple search with the names.

    Also, I heard that the sale of the strip of land from Mrs. Rezko to Obamas also rendered the remaining Rezko lot no longer in compliance with the zoning ordinance for development.  If that is true, that was some gift to the Obamas.  Also heard, and I did some checking, no notation in the Registry of Deeds on the purchase and sale of the 10-ft. strip of land.    


    I've read that (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by Larry Bailey on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:52:25 PM EST
    And it only causes more concern about the Obama-Rezko relationship -- especially in terms of Auchi's petition for a visa (in '06 and '07) and whether either Illinois senators' offices played a role in securing that visa.  If anyone has seen that issue addressed, I would appreciate a link.

    Auchi didn't get the visa. (none / 0) (#46)
    by oculus on Tue May 27, 2008 at 07:08:01 PM EST
    Misrepresentation (none / 0) (#26)
    by squeaky on Tue May 27, 2008 at 03:59:57 PM EST
    Michelle was on that board for nearly seven years, yet resigned her seat at the exact same time the subdivision was approved.

    She had resigned months earlier than that. You are making stuff up.


    The Rezko Matter (5.00 / 0) (#38)
    by Larry Bailey on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:47:39 PM EST
    I had not ever, in the course of reading the Sun-Times and Tribune articles about this (the most detailed of which was in the Sun-Times), read about Ms. Obama's presence on that board.  But, unless there is a real link there, I'm less interested in that than in the nature of a politician-contributor relationship that would extend to same-day, next-door real estate purchases. Apparently, the bad smell of this is not apparent to Obama supporters, who have insisted to me that this "has been investigated thoroughly by the local media", when I've read much of that reportage and found nothing beyond Senator Obama's personal word that "there was nothing improper". We're talking about a US Senator and his long-time top contributor and, as noted by a commenter below, a deal that has in effect left Senator Obama with a large home and, by way of lack of development, a very nice side lawn over the fence -- paid for by that long-time contributor, who we are learning did very little in Chicago politics without expecting something in return.  Josh Marshall did one very thorough summary piece on this and was so completely battered by Obama supporters in response that he seemed to have quickly abandoned his "muck-raking" skills.

    In short, that deal really stinks, IMHO, and left unchallenged by Democrats before August, will make for a devastating Republican attack in about mid-October.


    I Am Aware Of All (2.00 / 0) (#45)
    by squeaky on Tue May 27, 2008 at 06:34:26 PM EST
    The convolutions you speak of. The only allegation I had not heard about was that the initial plot subdivision was illegally done because Michelle Obama used her power to con the landmarks commission into doing something that they never would have done for a normal person.

    I am sure that there is more to it, so have a ball.  It seems like a snore to me, business as usual, imo.  


    I Provided A Link (none / 0) (#35)
    by squeaky on Tue May 27, 2008 at 04:26:22 PM EST
    Take it up with Jeralyn.

    Sorry (1.00 / 0) (#44)
    by squeaky on Tue May 27, 2008 at 06:27:22 PM EST
    I thought that was the alteration you were talking about. Since I had not heard of this new allegation of corruption I know nothing about it.

    It does not seem particularly juicy or evil enough for me to bother with, but knock yourself out. Maybe you can get some traction on it and bring Obama down.


    As Far As I Am Concerned (none / 0) (#48)
    by squeaky on Tue May 27, 2008 at 09:13:23 PM EST
    They are both the same. I pulled the lever for Hillary but have much of the same problems I have with her as I do with Obama.

    Both candidates will work for our interests in most ways. McCain and his BushCo buddies will not.

    The Rezko BS seems really trivial to me, particularly the part where you allege dirty dealings by Michelle. The public does not like to see such thin gruel flung about, it will backfire.


    "Spence told the jury this will be his last (none / 0) (#41)
    by bridget on Tue May 27, 2008 at 05:33:41 PM EST
    Ah, he did have such a sense for drama ... how can the Jury deny him a last victory now.

    I don't know anything about this case but even I want him to win ... (hoping for a just verdict, of course)

    I haven't seen him since the 90s when the defense attorney pundits and prosecutor pundits ruled TV time. Those were the days.

    I used to know most of the attorneys by name. And even then I was always on Jeralyn's side, of course :-) Had no idea she had a blog until a few months ago. I finally found it, lucky me!

    Gerry Spence was so popular and a real star. Must be in his 70s by now. Maybe late 70s?