Judge to Blagojevich jury: You don't have to like him

April 25, 2011

Download Story
(WBEZ/Robert Wildeboer)
Governor Blagojevich speaks in the lobby of the federal court building about jury selection in his retrial.

Attorneys in the Blagojevich retrial will continue vetting jurors this morning.  The jurors have already filled out a 38-page questionnaire, but now they'll come into court to undergo further questioning by Judge James Zagel.  He's asking them what they think about politics and politicians, whether they think politicians act in their own self interest or reward their contributors.  Zagel asks them if they can set aside their preconceived notions to answer whether an individual politician broke specific laws.  And he asks them if they could separate their dislike of politicians in general, or their dislike of Blagojevich in particular, from the very specific question of whether he broke any federal laws.

Several potential jurors say they hold Blagojevich in low esteem, or think he got lucky by avoiding conviction in his first trial, though Blagojevich was convicted on one count.  Zagel says it's going to be very hard to find jurors in the area who haven't heard of the case but he's asking them if they can set aside what they already know and base their decision solely on the evidence presented in court.