Blagojevich judge criticizes media coverage

March 1, 2011

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(Getty File/Scott Olson)
Rod Blagojevich addresses the media last year after the jury announced it could not agree on a verdict

The judge overseeing the upcoming re-trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is trying to contain the media attention that is surrounding the case.

Federal Judge James Zagel issued a ruling Monday, writing that after Blagojevich's first trial, media conduct was improper and abusive. He wrote that jurors deserve time to decompress after reaching a verdict, if they want.

Zagel said he heard that one juror complained a media helicopter flew over the house where she was staying and a reporter knocked on her door every 15 minutes until nearly midnight.

So Zagel said the next batch of Blagojevich jurors will remain anonymous until the morning after the verdict is reached. He's also leaving open the possibility of handing out "No Trespassing" signs and having local police monitor jurors phone lines. Zagel said he'll set up a room for jurors to talk to the media after the verdict, although nobody took him up on that offer after the first trial.

The re-trial of Rod Blagojevich is scheduled to begin next month.