Jury Questioning Underway in Rod Blagojevich Retrial - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Jury Questioning Underway in Rod Blagojevich Retrial

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A total of 150 people are waiting to see if they end up on the jury for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's retrial for corruption.

Complete Rod Blagojevich Trial Coverage >>

Key Points:

  • Each potential juror filled out a 38 page questionnaire Wednesday. Thursday, they'll answer lawyer's questions in court.
  • Twelve jurors and six alternates will be chosen. Attorneys can use peremptory challenges to eliminate candidates without needing to provide a reason. The prosecution has nine such challenges, the defense has 13. Lawyers may also challenge candidates on cause.
  • Blagojevich's defense team may call Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel as a witness this time around. His testimony could shed light on the allegation Blagojevich tried to sell Barack Obama's senate seat. Emanuel said he merely provided four names as possible senate appointments and offered nothing but President Obama's appreciation as thanks.
  • “I think the governor, as you know, through a representative, asked or sought or discussed the notion of what was in it for him, and I said thanks and appreciation, and I think you also know how the governor responded to the word ‘appreciation.’ And that's where we are,” Emanuel said.

 

UPDATE:   6:30    p.m.
Thursday proceedings have wrapped for the day.

 

UPDATE:  3:34   p.m.
Judge Zagel has now questioned 18 jurors. He is looking for a fair jury.

 

UPDATE:  3:09  p.m.
Judge Zagel excluded two jurors, one for medical reasons. After a side bar conference with attorneys, he returned to questioning jurors. 

 

UPDATE: 2:37 p.m.
Five more potential jurors have been questioned since lunch. The most recent one said he would have a hard time not holding it against Blagojevich if we said he would testify then didn’t.

 

UPDATE: 1:50 p.m.
Court resumes after lunch break.

 

UPDATE: 1:10 p.m.
The court was on lunch break until 1:35 p.m. Blagojevich and his wife, Patti, had lunch in the café on the second floor of the court building. He stopped to chat with reporters eating there as well before eating alone with Patti and Patti's brother.

Eight potential jurors were questioned before lunch, and there were two potential jurors who were supposed to be present but were not in court.

 

UPDATE: 12:04 p.m.
The media got a brief look at the questionnaire potential jurors filled out. There was a question about how potential jurors feel about political fundraising and if they’ve ever been involved with a lobbyist.

As of noon, the court was on its fourth potential juror.

 

UPDATE: 11:33 a.m.
Judge Zagel began questioning the first potential juror. The first potential juror questioned said she works for a radio station and teaches part time. She said she hadn’t followed the first trial closely and wasn’t familiar with the major players in the case.

The second potential juror questioned was a forklift operator whose son was murdered in the 80s, and he said he believes everyone is guilty.

 

UPDATE: 11:22 a.m. From the Associated Press
Judge Zagel said an "extraordinarily large number" of potential jurors said they believe some politicians take money to influence their votes. Zagel had the potential jurors leave the room Thursday so he could discuss the questionnaires they filled out with attorneys at the former Illinois governor's trial.

Zagel said he didn't think that answer would necessarily preclude someone from sitting on the jury. Zagel added that some potential jurors "regard the entire system as corrupt," and he said one person in particular was clearly "embittered by life in general." He suggested that person might not be "the best juror."

The judge added that an "extraordinarily large number of people" asked to be excused from jury duty.

 

UPDATE: 10:25 a.m.
Reporters are allowed into the courtroom and the judge begins swearing in jurors. Blagojevich was seen chatting with members of the public sitting near him, saying “good to see you,” while waiting for jury questioning to begin. Patti Blagojevich was chatting with her brother.

 

UPDATE: 9:49 a.m.
Blagojevich arrives at the Dirksen Federal Building with wife, Patti and attorney, Sheldon Sorosky. He did not speak to the media.

 

UPDATE: 9:15 a.m.
Blagojevich leaves his Ravenswood Manor home in a black sedan. He answers some questions from the media, quoting Henry V on the Battle of Agincourt to say his defense team were heroes.

 

UPDATE: 8:15 a.m.
In an interview Wednesday with the Chicago Tribune , Blagojevich said he is considering giving his own closing arguments and is taking a more active legal role in his defense this trial.

Former U.S. Assistant Attorney Patrick Collins said it was a bit of a genius idea, as it would give Blagojevich an opportunity to address the jury directly without having to face cross-examination.

Even so, Blagojevich would be on a very tight rope in that circumstance, as if he crossed the line and seemed to be presenting new evidence, the judge could open him to cross-examination.


 

Rod Blagojevich Scandal: More Key Players

Visit the "Who's Who" page to learn more about the former Illinois governor , his co-defendants, inner circle, the legal team and what people like President Obama , Sen. Dick Durbin and other high-profile people have to do with the case. >>


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