Attorneys for Rod Blagojevich discussed their plans for a defense in the former governor’s corruption trial with the trial judge Friday, but who will testify for the defense remains unclear.
The judge and attorneys spoke mostly in a sidebar, out of the earshot of reporters and the prosecution, during a hearing Friday morning. Mostly scheduling issues were discussed in open court.
The only details the defense has confirmed is that their defense will take about three days and they plan to call people of “prominence.”
No new subpoenas in the case were issued, but FOX Chicago has confirmed that five subpoenas were renewed from the first trial for Sen. Dick Durbin, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Valerie Jarrett and Sen. Harry Reid.
Defense attorneys have been trying to get in touch with the attorneys for those individuals, but there has been no confirmation of who will actually testify.
The judge could enforce subpoenas for such big names as Emanuel and Jackson Jr. if he thinks it is relevant to the case, but testimony would like be very limited to conversations about the shakedowns, and any attempts to get dirt on them would be stopped by the judge.
Another question mark in the case is whether Blagojevich himself would testify. In the first trial, Blagojevich promised to testify the duration of the trial and then, in a surprise move, the defense rested without presenting a single witness.
The defense is preparing for the possibility that he testifies, and attorneys discussed what tapes they might play in case he does in court Friday. Reporters have also been told Blagojevich is prepping to take the stand.
Also Friday morning, the prosecution submitted its suggested jury instructions to the court.
At the end of their case on Thursday , the prosecution played footage of Blagojevich taking the oath of office in 2003 and 2007. After court, Blagojevich's wife spoke.
“I’m even prouder today than I was nine years ago when he took that oath of office,” Patti Blagojevich said. “The way he's fought through this adversity, and continues to get up every day, as Lauren said, to prove what is right.”
Clerk of Court Michael Dobbins released a brief statement Friday afternoon saying there'd be no trial proceedings either Monday or Tuesday.
Since testimony got under way at the start of this month, jurors have heard evidence Monday through Thursday -- with Fridays off.
Judge James Zagel has said he'll meet attorneys Monday to begin discussing instructions that will eventually be given to jurors when they withdraw to deliberate.
That meeting's still expected to take place. Dobbins' statement didn't say why there would be no testimony early in the week.
The prosecution rested this week. The defense is expected to start calling witnesses when the retrial resumes Wednesday morning.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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