Rod Blagojevich Trial to Begin: Media Team in Place

Jury selection begins tomorrow morning in the corruption trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Team Blago is ready

Blago is now tweeting updates. His website has a media page where you can sign up for email updates on the trial, and a link to the rss feed for his updates.

Blago says he and wife Patty will testify at trial.

"I never could understand these politicians who said they never did anything wrong and then when they're given the chance to say they didn't do anything wrong, where it matters in court, they don't do it. So, yes, I'm gonna do it and Patti's gonna do it. We have the truth on our side," said Blagojevich.


Lawyers confirm that both Valerie Jarrett and Rahm Emanuel have been supboenaed. Also on trial: Blago's brother Robert. Witnesses against them: a slew of politicians and businessmen being rewarded for their testimony with promises of leniency for their own misdeeds. One who won't be taking the stand for the Government: Tony Rezko. Why? He's too much of a wild card. Here are a few with starring roles.

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    Would any of you who do criminal defense (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by oculus on Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 11:31:02 PM EST
    represent a defendant who tweets re his upcoming criminal trial?

    I haven't done heavy criminal cases (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by scribe on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:11:27 AM EST
    but, in a word, "no".  I would not allow a client to tweet about his coming trial.  I would not allow a client near Twitter, period.  I would try to keep the client away from all forms of email and cell phones, if only in the knowledge that the government (having an indictment in hand) would have no trouble getting and probably already has all the orders it needs to be reading and listening to all his communications in real time.   It's not uncommon for the government to put a physical tail on bailed-out defendants, so why not an electronic one.  All this a fortiori in Blago's case, where he's a loose cannon to begin with.

    I similarly would not allow a client to promise, in advance of jury selection, to take the stand.

    I understand Blago's political motivation for doing this, as well as his desire to counteract the mountains of free publicity the government always gets in high-profile cases.  But that does not change it.  The simple fact is that unless the government's case collapses of its own weight, it will survive the motion for acquittal at the end of the government's case and then the defense will have to put on a case.  Blago has pretty much obligated his counsel to put on a defense case by promising to take the stand, because you know there is no way Fitz is taking a case to trial which would have even the slightest chance of collapsing.  

    Not smart, Blago.


    His defense team (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:49:36 AM EST
    A look at the Adam Family

    The ousted former governor has always displayed a flair for the dramatic, so it is perhaps fitting that the criminal defense for his trial -- scheduled to begin Thursday with jury selection -- is being orchestrated by two of the most unabashedly colorful and unorthodox characters on the Chicago legal scene.

    The father-and-son combo has scripted a defense plan for Blagojevich that flies in the face of convention for handling public corruption cases at federal court. It also plays to the reputation as a street fighter that Blagojevich has tried to hone as a politician, and that the two attorneys, likewise, have developed in the courtroom.

    Instead of instructing Blagojevich to lie low and let them battle the case, he was dispatched by the Adams on a coast-to-coast publicity blitz to loudly proclaim his innocence on TV and radio talk shows. He has written a book giving his side of the scandal and even took part in Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice."

    The strategy appears designed to play to widespread cynicism about government, likely shared by many in the prospective jury pool, by portraying the actions for which Blagojevich has been charged as nothing more than typical political horse trading. It also crafts an image of the former governor as an undisciplined motormouth -- not a schemer -- who blurts out whatever comes into his head without thinking about what it means or even intending to act on it.

    How nervous (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 08:09:32 AM EST
    do you think many a Chicago pol is right now?  Blago is going b@lls to the wall and doesn't seem to care who else he takes down with him.

    Will be interesting to see how many other pols get in trouble before this is all over.

    Yes (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 10:48:03 AM EST
    From the Trib

    For Republicans, it's the down-and-out party's best chance in a decade to convince voters they deserve another shot at running Illinois. The GOP is trying to regain relevancy that evaporated after a federal corruption investigation that ended with the imprisonment of former Republican Gov. George Ryan.

    Watch for Republicans to run TV ads that link Blagojevich and any damaging trial testimony to their Democratic opponents. It's the same approach that Blagojevich used in winning two statewide elections, tarring both his opponents with the taint of the Ryan scandal. And some GOP campaigns already are exploring the possibility.

    Democrats know they will be forced to play defense, and some will try to point out ties between Blagojevich and longtime Republicans to contend that corruption was not unique to one political party.

    "I don't think it's going to be good for Democrats," said Christopher Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield. "Quinn inoculated himself pretty well from Blagojevich. But Blagojevich, himself, wrote the book on this. He's taught us how to take a person not associated in any way with taint and link them at the hip."


    As is often the case in Illinois' political environment, there is a bipartisan flavor to the Blagojevich scandal.

    Blagojevich had dealings with prominent Republican Bob Kjellander, a former member of the GOP National Committee. Prosecutors say he also cultivated a relationship with Stuart Levine, a major fundraiser for Blagojevich and for Republicans who pleaded guilty to trying to use his position on state boards to extract kickbacks from contractors. Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a top Blagojevich fundraiser and adviser who also was convicted of corruption in 2008, was a donor to GOP candidates as well.

    To that extent, the trial may serve to remind voters that they share some responsibility for electing him twice.

    "Blagojevich is just a public buffoon, but he's all of ours," the Democratic consultant said. "He's not just an issue for Illinois Democrats. Everyone shares ownership."

    I think the interesting thing is the fact that Blago was successful in using this against Republicans - let's see if they are successful in turning the tables.


    I'll be following this case. (none / 0) (#7)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 10:58:18 AM EST
    There's something about it that's interesting to me, i don't know why.

    Sounds like (none / 0) (#8)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 11:00:59 AM EST
    From the prosecution, to the witnesses, to the defense attorneys, to the defendant himself - this is going to be a complete circus and theater to behold.

    I think you're correct. (none / 0) (#9)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 11:11:12 AM EST
    It's going to be interesting.