Judge may limit media access to Blagojevich jurors

February 24, 2011

The onslaught of media attention paid to Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial took center stage Thursday in a Chicago courtroom.

In the first trial of former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Judge James Zagel kept the names of all jurors secret until just after the verdict came out.

Zagel said during Blagojevich's April re-trial, he's likely to keep the jury anonymous once again. This time, though, he said he's thinking of ways that would prevent the media from pursuing jurors at their homes. The judge said he was particularly bothered when he heard of a news helicopter that hovered above one juror's house.

Zagel said he might wait up to 18 hours after the verdict to release the names. And Zagel said might have court security officers hand out "No Trespassing" signs to the jury, so reporters would be liable if they were to knock on jurors' doors.

An attorney for The Chicago Tribune and other news outlets proposed having willing jurors meet with reporters in a separate room in the courthouse after the verdict.