Sam Adam, Jr. To Close, Judge Gives Him Hint How to Evade Ruling

Court's back in session in Chicago. Sam Adam, Jr. is there. The judge told Sam Adam he can't argue missing witnesses, but gave him a hint how to get around his ruling: Do it in the final minutes of his closing, so when the Judge makes him sit down, he'll have gotten everything else in.

Zagel tells Adam that if he steps over the line in his closing argument, the judge will sit him down in the middle of his remarks. So, Zagel suggests, if Adam wants to step over this line, he should reorganize his argument and put that part at the end -- so the judge can sit him down when it's about to be over.

At that, Sam Adam Jr. stops and looks around the courtroom, slowly scanning as if in amazement. The judge calls a 10-minute recess to give Adam time to rework his argument.

The Judge also told Adam he wasn't going to get thrown in jail for contempt: [More...]

"I got the transcript," the judge said. "I didn't use the word jail, you used the word jail. But to put you at ease, Mr. Adam, jail is not in the picture and never was in the picture. I don't know where they lock up lawyers for making objection statements, but we don't do it here."..."So if you were wondering who you were going to give your watch to, you don't have to worry about that," he said.

The Judge also made it clear he wasn't fooled by Adam's request for the instruction: He never wanted those witnesses to testify because they would have been unfavorable to Blago.

"I don't believe that there was ever, in this case, a desire by the defense to actually have these witnesses here, on the fear that some of what they had to say would be favorable to the government," Zagel said.

"You'd rather have a witness not appear and then tax the government with their non-appearance," he continued. "But the government can't be blamed for their non-appearance."

"That's the status that I explained very clearly on Friday, yet you wait until the moment before closing arguments to start to make a big fuss over this," the judge said.

And, the Judge said if Adam mentions the missing witnesses being within the Government's power to produce but they chose not to, he will allow the Government to respond. Will he make the Government wait until the end of their argument to respond? Probably not.
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  • Display: Sort:
    Mr. Adams has got to be the gutsiest, (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:43:05 AM EST
    most versatile, and most flexible attorney on the planet.

    I'm not seeing (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 10:57:52 AM EST
    how mentioning those missing witnesses helps Blago, but I have not followed the case closely.

    one example (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 11:08:10 AM EST
    they had witnesses say the money Rezko paid Patti was a sham and she never performed services for the money. They didn't call Rezko. Blago wants to argue to the jury that it can infer from the Government's failure to call Rezko that his testimony on Patty's payments would have been unfavorable to the Government.

    Rezko, again. Thanks (none / 0) (#4)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 11:24:17 AM EST
    for explicating this point.

    Plus, I wonder -- in addition to the court of law, is this possibly also playing to the "court of public opinion"?  Adams' client seems to like doing so.


    not having followed (none / 0) (#5)
    by NYShooter on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 12:36:02 PM EST
    this case closely, I don't know what the consensus  is regarding the jury vs. Blago; do they seem to like him? Dislike him? Laugh at him?

    But some of the Government's tapes I've heard: Blago: "he thinks he's getting an appointment for nothing? Eff him!" Seems a defense lawyer could tell the jury that if this type of private bravado talk is illegal all of Congress (and the WH) would be in jail.

    I love Sam Adams (none / 0) (#6)
    by Stromst on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 01:03:32 PM EST
    ...the beer, that is. Not to be picky, but the last name of my Chicago brethren, Sam Sr. and Jr., is Adam.  I'm a long time reader and first time poster. Thanks for the coverage of the trial - beats most of our local blogging!

    Thanks so much (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 27, 2010 at 01:35:49 PM EST
    And soon as I get a free minute I'll change Adams to Adam. My mistake.