At a quick hearing Monday morning, attorneys for convicted ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich had their bid for a new trial denied by Judge James Zagel.
Blagojevich’s attorneys were arguing possible misconduct by the jury forewoman for the second trial. They said that Connie Wilson may have violated a court order when she allegedly used a jury questionnaire from the retrial during at least one public presentation.
Zagel called the motion “hairebrained,” prepared without "any adequate thought" and suggested the attorneys write a letter of apology to Wilson.
She reportedly showed high school students in Aurora a copy or version of the secret questionnaire, which was supposed to be sealed.
The judge all but held Blagojevich’s attorney in contempt of court, saying that her motion was "improper" and suggesting that she seek counsel for herself. The defense team was also advised to file an explanation with the court showing why the filing attorney thought the motion was valid.
Blagojevich’s attorneys after court said there was nothing wrong with their motion.
“We absolutely stand behind our motion. It's filed in 100 percent good faith. There was absolutely no attack on this juror whatsoever, and we're simply seeking an evidentiary hearing, and we stand by that request,” attorney Lauren Kaeseberg said.
“All we asked for was an evidentiary hearing to find out how this juror obtained a juror questionnaire, which was forbidden,” attorney Aaron Goldstein said.
The next step for the former governor's attorneys is to file a motion for appeal, which they said they would do immediately.
Wilson told FOX Chicago News that the forms that she used when speaking to the high school students were not any sealed jury questionnaires.
“There's no way I could get a hold of those. The forms that we actually used for teaching purposes, we had talked with the federal jury clerk, and they forwarded a blank form that is sent to any juror for any trial,” Wilson said. “It gives the basic information -- your name and if you're 18. It had absolutely nothing to do with the trial at all, none of the Blagojevich, nothing. It was just to show students what they would get if they were asked to come for jury duty.”
A report had said Wilson showed the students her actual juror questionnaire., which she said is wrong.
Even after the drama in court Monday, Wilson said she didn’t blame Blagojevich’s team for trying to get a new trial and said she didn’t feel like a scapegoat.
“The defense lawyers are doing their job. They're there to defend their client. Isn't that what we want from any lawyer that would be handling a case for ourselves?” Wilson said. “Obviously they have no knowledge of what the presentation was, or that the forms were an educational thing and they were blank.”
Blagojevich is set to report to prison in March to serve his 14 year sentence. He was convicted in June on 17 counts of corruption, including charges he attempted to sell the senate seat of President Barack Obama.
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