The day after 12 jurors unanimously agreed to convict former Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 17 counts of corruption, the individuals’ names are being released. Connie Wilson, who was the forewoman of the jury, said she is relieved to return to some sense of normalcy in her life after the two-month trial.
Wilson, a Naperville resident who recently retired as music director of her church, spoke as Juror 146 Tuesday at a joint press conference with the 11 other members of the jury, but Tuesday she explained more about what went into her decision to find Blagojevich guilty.
Wilson said the tapes were the “definitely” the biggest thing that influenced her decision, which was hard given what was at stake.
“You have to take it very seriously, because a man’s life’s at stake here, and his future, and his family’s future. That was very, very hard, knowing there’s a wife, there’s children, there’s a brother, there’s friends. You want to make sure you exhaust every avenue in your decision,” Wilson said.
The trial really became real for her and the jury, Wilson said, when the prosecution began its cross-examination of Rod Blagojevich by asking if he was a convicted liar, which Blagojevich confirmed.
“It kind of jolted us. There was a jolt through the jury, and we realized the magnitude of what we were doing,” Wilson said.
On the former governor’s testimony, Wilson said Blagojevich did help himself on one of the counts, explaining that on the Tollway charges, he was mainly trying to get the capital bill passed. However, at other times, Blagojevich did not do as much good.
“He loves to talk, and sometimes he would get off subject, but there were other times when he would maybe find a discrepancy between one day and the next, and that may have hurt him in some instances,” Wilson said.
Wilson said she became the jury person because somebody else nominated her. Wilson said she didn’t want to do it, but felt it was her responsibility and felt honored and privileged to have been voted to the position.
Wilson also said, although Blagojevich is a charming man, he seemed almost delusional, like he didn’t believe that he had done what he did.
Judge James Zagel also released the names of the jurors in the Blagojevich trial Tuesday morning. In addition to Wilson, they were Maya Moody of Chicago, Deborah Fawkes of Dundee, Rosemary Bennett of Aurora, Kimberly Spaetti of Winthrop Harbor, Tracy Coutney-Johnson of Plainfield, Karin Wilson of Palatine, Aimee Spelich of Peru, Maribel DeLeon of Dundee, John McParland of Villa Park, Jessica Hubinek of Carol Stream and Karen Wojcieszak of Tinley Park.
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