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Tag: Rod Blagojevich (page 3)

Blagojevich Verdict : Live Blog

Reporters are on the move. The Blagojevich family appears headed to the courthouse. Looks like we have a verdict. I just found an easier way to post new developments. I created a TalkLeft Live Twitter feed. It will update automatically every time I add a tweet with updates.

Recap of charges below: [More...]

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Blagojevich Verdict Imminent?

The jury in the trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich and his brother Robert asked for the verdict form today. The judge told them not to indicate how they were split on counts they cannot reach a decision on. They also asked for the juror oath -- is this a last ditch effort to convince a holdout?

It seems a verdict is imminent. From their second note this morning:[More...]

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Blagojevich Jury To Get Transcript of Deputy. Governor Tusk's Testimony

Update: No verdict today, the jurors have gone home.

The jury in the trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich today had another request for the Judge: It asked for the transcript of testimony of former Deputy Governor Bradly Tusk. Over defense objection, the Judge granted the request.

Tusk testified on June 21 about a conversation with Blagojevich regarding Rahm Emanuel. Rahm had called him about a grant for an athletic field at a school in Rahm's former Congressional district.

Tusk was inquiring about a $2 million grant that had been approved for a school and teaching academy in former Congressman Rahm Emanuel's district. The school, counting on the grant money, had begun building an athletic field but was unable to pay contractors because it had not been given the approved funds. Emanuel and others began pressuring Tusk who called Blagojevich late in the summer of 2006 to talk about the grant.

"He [Blagojevich] said before the money could be released he wanted Rahm's brother to hold a fundraiser," Tusk testified. ...Tusk said he believed Blagojevich was saying there would be no grant if there was no fundraiser and that Blagojevich wanted "that message delivered to Rahm Emanuel."

The details of are in Racketeering Act #2 in the Second Superseding Indictment, attempted extortion, and in Count 14, attempted extortion. Since this was in the summer of 2006, it does not affect the False Statement charge, which concerns statements Rod made to the FBI in March, 2005 (Count 24.)

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The Shifting of Public Opinion on Rod Blagojevich

No one knows what the jury is thinking, but in the court of public opinion, according to The New York Times, the tide is turning in favor of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

It's easy to dismiss the Times' analysis since it is based on an unscientific sampling of random persons who didn't hear the evidence. Less easy to dismiss: John Bohrer, a reporter for Esquire who did attend the trial, and who was asked by the magazine at the end of the trial to write an article with his impressions as if he had been one of the jurors, wrote that as a juror, he would have acquitted both defendants. His reasoning is much the same as those interviewed in the Times article. [More...]

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Blagojevich: Reading the Tea Leaves

Since the jury won't be back until Monday, there's nothing to do but speculate on which two of the 24 charges the jury has agreed on, who they pertain to and and what those verdicts are.

This is all tea-leaf reading, since none of us really have a clue. That being said, here's my guess: They have found Rod not guilty of the RICO counts (counts 1 and 2.) As to the remaining counts, related to bribery, extortion and false statements, they are not in agreement. Some would decide guilt, others would not. (As to the wire fraud charges and acts, they said they hadn't started on those yet when they reached their two verdicts.) Here's my current thinking: [More...]

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Blagojevich Jurors Done Till Next Week

Bump and Update: The jurors in the Blagojevich trial have gone home. They are taking tomorrow off. Thus, no verdict before next week, at the earliest. From their jury note:
"We've deliberated on all acts and counts with the exception of the wire fraud counts. We have reached unanimous agreement on two counts. We have been unable to agree on any of the remaining counts."

****

Earlier I wrote about the unwieldy and confusing jury instructions in the trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his brother Robert, particularly with respect to the racketeering acts.

Major props to WBEZ political reporter Sam Hudzik, for matching up the alleged acts with the various charges on all the counts and posting a shorthand version, with explanations and the verdict form for each count. [More...]

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Blagojevich Jury: Uninimous on Two Counts, Divided on Rest

The Judge in the trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his brother Robert asked the jury this morning for clarification of their note yesterday. Their answer: They are unanimous on two counts, divided on the remainder, and haven't yet reached the wire fraud counts. Via the Chicago Sun Times:

"Your Honor," their note reads. "In response to your communication of 11 August, 2010, we've deliberated on all acts and counts with the exception of the wire fraud counts. We have reached unanimous agreement on two counts. We have been unable to agree on any of the remaining counts."

The Judge wants to respond: [More...]

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What's Confusing the Blagojevich Jury?

While no one other than the participants and judge has seen the entire note the jury sent out in the trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Wednesday, from the media description, I don't see what's so mysterious about it. The money quotes, first from the Chicago Tribune:

U.S. District Judge James Zagel, reading from a note from jurors, said they had made “a reasonable attempt” after deliberating 11 days and had done so “without rancor.”

The jury indicated it wanted to know what happens if it cannot agree on a unanimous decision on every count. The panel had matched up specific acts in the case to individual counts and was unclear on what to do next, the note said. “What is the next logical step?” the jury asked in its note. [my emphasis]

From the Chicago Sun Times:
Separately, one defense lawyer said that jurors also indicated they couldn't reach a conclusion on counts involving a "specific act."

My take: The jury matched up some, but not all acts with counts. It sounds to me like the jury is unable to resolve the two RICO (racketeering)counts (one charging substantive RICO and the other charging conspiracy to commit RICO.) The RICO counts require the jury to find Rod Blagojevich committed (or for conspiracy, agreed that some member of the conspiracy would commit)at least two acts of racketeering, and they have to be unanimous on at least two acts. [More..]

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Blagojevich Jurors Have a Question

On their 11th day of deliberations, the jurors in the trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his brother Robert have a question. The judge will hear it at 2:30 pm CT.

This is the first peep from the jurors since their first days of deliberations when they requested a transcript of the Government's closing argument and of witness testimony. Both requests were denied, although the judge said they could ask for witness transcripts by individual name.

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Blagojevich Lawyer Sam Adam, Jr: A Bundle of Nerves

[Video no longer available]

Sam Adam, Jr., attorney for Rod Blagojevich, is a bundle of nerves. He's not eating or sleeping, waiting on the 12 people who will decide his client's fate.

"It's not easy," he says. "You hope and you believe there are people in that jury room fighting for your side, but the truth is that you really don't know. And that's what makes it so hard."

Jury deliberations resume today.

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Blagojevich Jury: Who's The Foreman

I'm hearing that the jury foreman in the trial of Rod Blagojevich and his brother Robert Blagojevich is #135, described by Time Magazine (which doesn't state he's the foreman) as:

Juror 135: Japanese-American male, senior citizen. He was born in California's Manzanar internment camp in 1944, where many Japanese Americans were imprisoned during WW II. The retired former videotape librarian served as a Marine in Okinawa and is a Vietnam veteran. His wife was a Chicago public-school teacher. He once served on a jury that reached a verdict. He said that he considers all that he's heard before the trial on the Blagojevich case — on both sides — to be hearsay.

Robert Blagojevich has a distinguished military background. Maybe, if the foreman doesn't like hearsay (and remember, the government didn't call Tony Rezko, Stuart Levine, Jesse Jackson, Jr. or Rahm Emanuel) he won't credit what others said about them. Robert did testify, and by the accounts I've read, was very credible.

One thing I haven't seen much reporting on is how the individual jurors reacted to the testimony and closing arguments. That may be because so few reporters were in the actual courtroom, as opposed to the media overflow room, which just had audio. So it's too soon to say whether Juror #135 as foreman gives either brother a boost, but it could be a good sign, particularly for Robert.

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Blagojevich Jury Deliberations: Day Three

The jury now wants transcripts of the entire trial, and the judge has agreed, although they will have to ask for them by witness name.

Rod Blagojevich objected, Robert Blagojevich and the Government did not.

The Judge has also denied Rod Blagojevich's last motion for mistrial based on closing arguments. [More...]

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Bladojevich Jury Deliberations: Day Two

10:37 am MT: The jury in the trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his brother Robert had a question for the judge this morning. They asked for a transcript of closing arguments. The judge told them closing arguments were not evidence and refused.

Rod Blagojevich tweeted an hour ago:

Thanks so much for the messages. I'm reading them and they are very much appreciated. Thanks for your belief in me.

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Spotlight Turns to Blagovevich Jurors:

While their names won't be released until after a verdict, the media is turning its attention to the jurors about to decide the case of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his brother Robert.

There are six men, six women. They include:

....a legal assistant, a public school math teacher, an avid marathon runner, two college students, a retired letter carrier and a man who was born in a California detention camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II.

17 jurors heard the case, but 5 will become alternates. The 12 with the lowest juror numbers will be the deciding jurors. More description below: [More...]

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Team Blago Seeks Mistrial Over Closing Argument Restrictions

Team Blago today filed another motion for a mistrial (there have been several throughout the trial, all denied.) This one (available on PACER) is based on the limits placed on Sam Adam Jr.'s closing arguments:

Determinations of credibility and findings of fact are the province of the jury. Throughout the closing argument of Attorney Sam Adam, Jr., the government objected approximately three dozen times, with improper objections.

The court, in an apparent endorsement of the government in front of the jury, erroneously ruled on the government‟s improper objections, making findings of credibility and fact. This violated Rod Blagojevich rights to due process, a fair trial, effective assistance of counsel and the right to present a defense case, in contravention of the United States Constitution, Amendments 5 and 6.

[More...]

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