Blagojevich to mount a defense

May 20, 2011

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(WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)
Governor Rod Blagojevich talking to media in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Court Building.

Defense attorneys for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich say they will  put on a defense.  Blagoejevich's attorneys will start their defense Monday and they told judge James Zagel that it shouldn't take more than three days, though they won't say whether the governor will take the stand.

In the last trial, defense attorney Sam Adam, Jr. promised the jury that the governor would get up on the stand and explain himself to them.  That never happened; in fact, the defense didn't put on a case at all.  They relied on their cross examinations of the government's witnesses, but this time Blagojevich's attorneys have been much less successful in chipping away at those witnesses' credibility.  Prosecutors have also put on a more concise case, with just three weeks of testimony this time compared to five weeks last time.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case Thursday afternoon by going back to Blagojevich's very first day as governor, playing a video of Blagojevich taking the oath of office in 2003.  Jurors looked up at a large screen in the court room at a video of a younger Blagojevich, smiling with his family beside him as he took the oath, pledging to faithfully discharge the duties of the office of the governor to the best of his abilities.  When he finished the oath prosecutors rested their case.