Jurors in Rod Blagojevich Corruption Retrial Explain Verdict - FOX 32 News Chicago

Jurors in Rod Blagojevich Corruption Retrial Explain Verdict

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After a jury found former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich guilty on 17 counts of corruption, all the jurors talked publicly about their verdict.

The jurors refused to give their names and only wanted to be identified by their numbers.

The jury said the senate seat charges were the most clear, and going by the evidence it was clear that Blagojevich was committing a criminal act.  One juror explained that Blagojevich's defense that he was considering Lisa Madigan was not credible because he never called her in or talked to her.  On the other hand, the juror said, Blagojevich made clear asks of people who could make a deal happen on the charges.  Jurors said the evidence and wiretaps showed Blagojevich was trying to sell the seat.

Overall, the jurors said the Illinois Tollway and Chicago Academy counts were the most difficult ones to decide on; ultimately, they deadlocked on Count 11, which was the only count connected with the school.

"It was very difficult; there were several times when we had to vote and revote," said one juror. "We didn't feel there was enough evidence one way or the other way" on the school and tollway counts.

The jurors said that Blagojevich's testimony in some ways made their jobs harder, because they found him "personable," but that they focused on the evidence, and the evidence was clear.

"I felt at times [his testimony] was manipulative," said another juror. "I would have rather just heardthe facts."

However, a juror did say that his testimony on the Tollway counts (on which they found him not guilty on one count and deadlocked on another) made it clear that he was trying to get the capital spending bill passed.

The jurors said that the entire trial left them with a negative impression of Illinois politics.

"I told my husband if he thought about running for political office, he'd have to find a new wife," the forewoman said.

 The jurors said that the most credible witness was Former Deputy Gov. Bradley Tusk: "he had nothing to lose." They were least impressed by Lon Monk, who lied to Blagojevich, Harris and others.

Deadlocked on two counts in the end, jurors said they took several votes before being unanimous on the other 18, and repeated their message that they had to go back to the evidence.

Jurors said that the tapes really sealed the deal.

"We'd look at all the evidence and I'd come in thinking he's not guilty, and then: 'Gosh darn you, Rod, you did it again," said one juror. "He proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty. I really tried to find everything I could to make him not guilty, but the proof was there."

Ultimately, the forewoman said, the people of Illinois would be proud of the jury.

“These 12 people together were amazing,” Juror 146 said. “I think the American people would be very proud of their system. They made sure every single detail would be looked at to be fair and honest.”

Jurors said they would not release their names before the judge made them public Tuesday at 9 a.m., but spoke because they hoped it would prevent the media from pursuing them relentlessly in their regular lives. Many of them have kids, one juror said, and they hoped that by speaking publicly now, they would be allowed to have privacy going forward.

Though all 12 jurors were seated in the courtroom used for the press conference, only half of them spoke. The sole man on the jury did not speak.

 

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