Blagojevich judge warns prosecutors

April 27, 2011

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(AP/file)
Federal Judge James Zagel is telling prosecutors to dial down some of the glitter as they retry the former governor.

Federal Judge James Zagel is telling prosecutors to dial down some of the glitter in their case as they retry former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.  In the governor's first trial, prosecutors put an internal revenue service agent on the stand who said Blagojevich spent more than $400,000 on clothes when he was governor.  Blagojevich's attorneys recently objected to a repeat of that testimony saying there's nothing illegal about buying expensive suits.  They said the testimony was meant simply to make Blagojevich look bad.

The judge ruled that the testimony is relevant to show a motive for why Blagojevich was in need of money. but Tuesday he told prosecutors to drop some of the "bangles and beads."  He said he was concerned that some of the prosecution's testimony was over the top, though he said that during the first trial, on the over the top index, the defense was by far the winner.

Jury selection continues Wednesday but given the current pace Zagel says opening statements might not be until monday.