Blagojevich judge tells former governor to watch his mouth

April 19, 2011

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Rod Blagojevich's actions are being criticized by the judge overseeing the former governor's upcoming corruption re-trial. In court, Judge James Zagel hasn't touched the topic of Blagojevich's public persona that much. But just days before the scheduled start date of Blagojevich's re-trial, Zagel gave the former governor some advice: zip it.

Zagel told the court he thought Blagojevich was trying to subvert the jurors in his next trial by holding news conferences and criticizing federal prosecutors. The judge said most defense attorneys he knows prefer it when their clients don't hold press conferences. Zagel said the defense should consider his comments to be a red flag. He spoke after prosecutors complained about not being able to call Blagojevich out for lying in public comments.

Prosecutors have mostly stuck to the legal issues in court, but U.S. Attorney Reid Schar let loose, telling the judge that Blagojevich's talking points are lies. It's the judge who decides which tapes to play, not the government.

The former governor has said that playing all the secret phone conversations recorded by the FBI would show he's innocent and the fact that they aren't all played for jurors is a conspiracy by the prosecutors.

Blagojevich's defense attorneys left court without talking to reporters; a rarity for them.

Jury selection for the former governor's trial is scheduled to start tomorrow.