Blagojevich Jury Foreman Describes Jury Split

Update: More on the jury split:

In some cases it was 7-5. In others it was 6-6. On some counts, there was just one holdout. [Foreman] Matsumoto said they cast their votes on secret ballots.

Juror Erik Sarnello said many jurors were overwhelmed and confused by the Government's case and presentation.

“I think honestly it confused some people, just the way they presented it,” he said. “We followed a timeline because [prosecutors] didn’t really follow a timeline at all. They jumped around from ‘this year, that year.’ ”

It wasn't a case of just one holdout juror:[More...]

[Foreman] Matsumoto said he wanted to convict on all counts, but others strongly disagreed.


Original Post

According to James Matsumoto, jury foreman in the trial of Rod and Robert Blagojevich, the jury's split was different for different counts.

On at least one count, the jury was 11 to 1 for conviction. On other counts, the split was wider. (Another juror told the AP the jury was split 11 to 1 for conviction on the senate seat charge.)

On the attempted extortion count (#14), initially they resolved that count for conviction, but one woman changed her mind after the jury reviewed the testimony of Former Deputy Gov. Bradley Tusk.

So the initial counts decided were false statements and attempted extortion, guilty on both, but a juror changed her mind on the attempted extortion, leaving only the false statement charge.

The foreman says he would have convicted Rod on all counts. There's no mention in this article about Robert Blagojevich, but in this one, the jury foreman says he would also have convicted Robert on all counts.

All my reading tea leaves were for naught. I thought the two counts they agreed on were the RICO counts, and they voted not guilty.

< A Defiant Rod Blagojevich: "I Didn't Lie to the FBI" | Blast From the Past: The History of the Presumption of Innocence >
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  • Display: Sort:
    All For Naught? (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by squeaky on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 08:24:57 PM EST
    Hardly, as it was a way of explaining how this could all come out..  In a way, because of all the work you put into blogging about this case, I feel as if you won the case.

    thank you Squeaky (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 08:31:37 PM EST
    I really appreciate that. I don't know exactly why I put so many hours into reading and analyzing the documents in this case -- but I did, and I'm glad I was able to point out things readers found helpful.

    My goal, as I said in my first post:

    bq. The deck is certainly stacked against Blago, perhaps for good reason, perhaps not, but I'm keeping an open mind and going to report on things that develop during trial I find curious or unfair.


    Thank you for your work on it (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 08:52:05 PM EST
    I wasn't all that interested until I read your posts. You did a great job distilling it for us!

    Thanks for all your work on this case (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by scribe on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 07:56:05 AM EST
    It went in looking like a prosecution slam dunk and came out more a vendetta than anything else.

    I'd like to add (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by Peter G on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 09:12:40 AM EST
    that the live Twitter-feed of the verdict proceedings was terrific, Jeralyn.  It worked perfectly, and it was totally fascinating.  Great addition to an outstanding site.

    yes thank you (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 09:20:32 AM EST
    there was no reporting anything like this locally.
    unfortunately.  I wish your thoughts on it could be published daily in every newspaper in IL.

    Squeaky and I never agree but on this we do. (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 10:33:43 AM EST
    And one more time we see the wisdom of never answering questions from the police/FBI without a lawyer present.

    Thanks, Jeralyn! (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Mitch Guthman on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 12:02:48 AM EST
    I would also like to thank you, Jeralyn, for your hard work.  I don't think your time was really wasted.  Next to the lawyers and the judges in the case, I think the readers of this blog were probably the best informed people about this case and for that I'm grateful.  

    Also, I think most of the lawyers (myself included) reading along with you were of the same mind as you right up until the verdicts were read.   This was a very surprising verdict for lots of reasons.  

    Actually, I'm also interested in your thinking about how/whether the defense voir dires on this conviction.  I wonder how Sam Adams is going to finesse that one.

    So do you think it was the woman (none / 0) (#4)
    by ruffian on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 08:54:05 PM EST
    that changed her mind that they wanted to read the oath back to? sounds like it must have been a really tense room.

    I assume so (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 09:08:14 PM EST
    Could have also been that woman (none / 0) (#12)
    by scribe on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 07:57:34 AM EST
    wanting to read the oath to the other jurors to make sure they understood her reason for changing.  Maybe she had a pang of conscience or "on further review" she changed her decision.

    Perhaps she was merely (none / 0) (#20)
    by Untold Story on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 09:47:05 AM EST
    exercising her right to vote --

    according to Google, today is the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment!


    The Oath & Jeralyn (none / 0) (#5)
    by befuddledvoter on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 09:01:50 PM EST
    How very impressive that the jury asked for the oath.  I have never seen that.  

    Special thanks to Jeralyn for presenting the other side.  The press coverage was horribly biased and painted Blagojevich as a buffoon.  He was not.  What he voiced was what most politicians think:  What is in it for me and my constituents?  He said it; hence, the prosecution.    

    Most politicians don't take money for themselves! (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mitch Guthman on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 12:16:26 AM EST
    I agree Blago wasn't a buffoon.  He was a small time hack politician who somehow became the governor of Illinois.    Because he had always been a small timer, he wasn't sure how to shake the money tree and so he did it clumsily and got caught.  But make no mistake, he wasn't looking out for the people of Illinois. I followed the evidence pretty closely and it's very clear that he was shaking the money tree for himself and nobody else.

    Blago and his Big Mouth (none / 0) (#10)
    by befuddledvoter on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 07:31:21 AM EST
    Interesting to note.  I did not follow the case as closely as some.  I just see him as I do most "small time" local politicians.  I live in Cambridge, MA.  No different here.  Blago was clumsy but I found his obvious shake down refreshing.  It was raw and natural and brought focus on just what most politicians act on but never speak.  

    I remain convinced that the only differnece between Blago and many local pols is he gave voice to what they think and do everyday.    


    Gear up for round two! (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 07:06:29 AM EST
    The prosecution (as of this morning's reporting) is gearing up for a re-trial and wants it as soon as possible.

    And ABC is reporting that another jurior said it was 11-1 on the big three counts, or, as he put it, "the most obvious".

    What's another couple mill... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by kdog on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 08:36:35 AM EST
    down the drain...it's not like we have money problems or anything.

    I was told on another blog (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 08:57:24 AM EST
    yesterday that the outcome here was not unusual for this sort of setup.  you have a holdout who doesnt seem to be willing to vote guilty on anything so it eventually comes down to everyone else saying something like "FINE, but you can not deny that he lied to blah blah blah".

    seems reasonable.

    A sincere Thank You (none / 0) (#16)
    by Untold Story on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 09:13:27 AM EST
    for the great reporting.

    The State of Illinois (Distrist 201) is behind for last academic year, owing over $3.6M, and plans to cut $300M from its school budget for this year.

    There will be 22% fewer teachers; 44% fewer aids this year; only five longer classes rather than six; and allowing fewer credits required for graduation.

    All Illinois districts are in similar situations.

    Illinois has a budget deficit of close to $6B according to the State Comptroller's Office.

    The money used (whether Federal or state) would be better served on education rather than trying to prove for a second time these charges in the Blago case.

    so much more than education (none / 0) (#18)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 09:23:15 AM EST
    needs money in this state.  for example.  I like to speed.  I have not seen a state cop on the highway commuting to work in literally months.  large numbers have been fired or placed on leave I guess.  not that I miss them but I do wonder what might happen if a person needed one.  

    Speed also, but since my (none / 0) (#19)
    by Untold Story on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 09:44:05 AM EST
    'deferred' ticket incident, have been watching myself on that!

    Illinois, they say, can be compared to Greece.  California gets all the deficit news coverage but it is really Illinois that is in the most trouble.

    State pension deficits are estimated to total $1,000B according to Pew Center.  (Pensions for retired teachers, state workers, university staff, judges and politicians are funded at less than 40% - lowest proportion of any US state.)

    The gap between assets and liabilities were about 4.7B last year and probably double that today according to Joshua Rauch of Northwestern.

    Pat Quinn, up for re-election in November, wants to raise state income tax from 3% to 4%.  Some feel this will not be enough.

    Small wonder Blago took off to the bathroom rather than discuss budgetary issues!


    Well, Blago is going (none / 0) (#21)
    by brodie on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 10:04:04 AM EST
    to have to hit that wasteful prosecutorial spending argument hard in his public appearances, because it's one of the few good ones he has left, and it appears this aggressive prosecutor is positioned for another go at Blago.  

    And next time the ex gov won't have the funds to hire private attys.

    After looking at some of these depressing pro-conviction jury votes, Blago might want to consider going for a plea deal for, say, 2-3 yrs in the slammer.