The Rod Blagojevich trial took a day off Friday.
On Monday, Judge James Zagel will continue interviewing potential jurors to fill the 18 available positions.
There seems to be a little bit of confusion over just how the jury is being selected for the Blagojevich trial.
The process begins with a pool of about a hundred and fifty potential jurors. All of them have filled out 38-page questionnaires, and after they have filled out those questionnaires, they are questioned in open court by the judge.
He's looking for indications of bias which might prevent them from serving on the jury.
Either side can ask for some of those jurors to be removed for cause. That is because they are either too biased to serve, or they have got economic hardship. That takes care of an awful lot of the jurors who have been selected for that potential pool.
Once they get down to forty jurors who cannot be removed for cause, each side has what is called their peremptory challenges. The government has nine peremptory challenges, the defense has thirteen.
Challenges involves jurors that they want to remove and don't have to give a reason for doing so. Add those together, that is twenty-two,
Once that is done, eighteen jurors are left, who are needed to move forward with the trial. Twelve regular jurors, and six alternates.
Why does federal law give defendants more peremptory challenges than the prosecutors? It is supposedly because defendants have more to lose when going to trial.
Opening statements in the case could take place on Wednesday.
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