WBEZ | retrial http://www.wbez.org/tags/retrial Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Blagojevich appeal complicated by testimony? http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-appeal-complicated-testimony-88650 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-01/Blagojevich Retrial Attorneys_Robert Wildeboer_2011051308.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Within the next few weeks, attorneys for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will be asking Judge James Zagel for a mistrial.&nbsp; That's unlikely to succeed, which means they'll move on to a higher court, but Blagojevich's testimony could cause problems for an appeal.</p><p>Attorney Joel Bertocchi has spent much of his career specializing in appeals.&nbsp; He says in order to win, you have to convince the appeals court of two things: that the trial judge made an error; and that the error changed the outcome of the case.</p><p>Bertocchi says, "A lot of judges on appeals courts are trial judges and they know what trial judges and trial lawyers know about criminal cases which is that when a defendant testifies, that's really thought of as being kind of the ballgame."&nbsp;</p><p>So even if the appeals court finds Judge Zagel made an error, they're unlikely to grant an appeal.&nbsp; They'd consider most judicial errors unimportant compared to the role Blagojevich's testimony played in the jury's decision.</p></p> Tue, 05 Jul 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-appeal-complicated-testimony-88650 No tapes, no Blagojevich conviction? http://www.wbez.org/story/no-tapes-no-blagojevich-conviction-88428 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-28/028- Bill Healy - Blagojevich Verdict - 6-26-11.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Tapes sealed the deal for jurors who convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on 17 counts Monday.&nbsp; The investigation into the Blagojevich administration goes back years, but there may not have been a conviction if not for the phone calls he had over a few weeks in the fall of 2008.&nbsp;</p><p>Jurors say those calls were very convincing.&nbsp; "There was just several instances and several calls where he asked for different positions for the Senate seat," said one juror who is still anonymous because the court was not immediately releasing jurors' names.</p><p>Robert Grant, the head of the Chicago office of the FBI, says the tapes were important in this case.&nbsp; "A famous artist once said that Lady Justice is blind but she has very sophisticated listening devices... In all my years of experience there is no better evidence you can present to a jury than a defendant's own words and in their own voice," said Grant.</p><p>U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald says Blagojevich got a fair trial.&nbsp; "The government put forth its version, he put forth the defendant's version, in the most direct way possible, he took the stand, and the jury decided," said Fitzgerald.</p><p>Experts estimate Blagojevich is facing around 10 years in prison.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 08:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/no-tapes-no-blagojevich-conviction-88428 Inside Blagojevich jury deliberations http://www.wbez.org/story/inside-blagojevich-jury-deliberations-88427 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-28/Blagojevich Verdict - 6-26-11_Billy Healey.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>After delivering their sweeping conviction of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Monday, jurors took a few minutes to talk to reporters.&nbsp;</p><p>They convicted Blagojevich on 17 of the 20 corruption charges.&nbsp; It's a vastly different outcome than the one reached by the first Blagojevich jury, which convicted on one minor count and was deadlocked on everything else.&nbsp; This second jury hopes their overwhelmingly guilty verdict sends a message to Illinois politicians.</p><p>In high-profile federal cases, court administrators will sometimes make a courtroom available where jurors can talk to reporters if they so choose.&nbsp; There's only one television camera and one microphone for radio stations, an attempt to make the whole experience less intimidating.</p><p>In Blagojevich's first trial, none of the jurors talked at court, and as a result reporters started tracking them down at their homes that evening.&nbsp; In an apparent attempt to avoid a repeat, Judge James Zagel seems to have suggested it might not be a bad idea for jurors to get it over with.&nbsp; All of them made themselves available for a 21 minute Q and A, and the forewoman even started with a prepared statement.&nbsp; "As a jury, we have felt privileged to be part of our federal judicial system," she said.</p><p>The jurors spent nine days deliberating, but the forewoman, a retired church musician and liturgist, says it's not because they were arguing.&nbsp; She says they carefully went through each of the 20 counts.&nbsp; "Throughout the process we were very respectful of each other's views and opinions, and as a result we feel confident we have reached a fair and just verdict."</p><p>They found Blagojevich guilty on 17 counts of trying to use his office to enrich himself, but they still kind of liked him.&nbsp; Juror 103 (the court hasn't released the jurors names yet but they're expected to do so Tuesday morning) spent a week listening to Blagojevich testify.&nbsp; She sat in the jury box in the front row, closest to the witness stand.&nbsp; As Blagojevich walked up to the stand he would often mouth or whisper a hello, or a "how ya doin" to her.&nbsp; He also jokingly rolled his eyes at her when attorneys were taking too long dealing with issues at sidebar.</p><p>Juror 103 said that connection "Made it, I wouldn't say it made it a bit harder but because he was personable it made it hard to separate that from what we actually had to do as jurors, you know, we had to put aside the fact that whether we liked him or didn't like him and just go by the evidence that was presented to us."</p><p>Another juror echoed the sentiment that Blagojevich is more than just a caricature.&nbsp; "We know he's human, he has a family, and it was very difficult and there were many times we would talk and say, or I would say, here's all the evidence, and I'd come in thinking okay, he's not guilty and then all of a sudden, gosh darn you Rod, you did it again, I mean he proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty, so it was very difficult. I mean we, I really tried to just try to find everything I could to make him not guilty but the proof was there."</p><p>But not everyone was smitten by the former governor.&nbsp; One juror said she felt he was manipulative and an alternate juror said she felt Blagojevich could remember everything for his lawyers but then seemed to forget everything when the prosecutors were asking the questions.</p><p>In the end, the jurors agreed that Blagojevich committed crimes and they said that was made clear from the governor's phone calls, which were secretly recorded by the FBI.&nbsp; Jurors said the easiest counts to convict on included the allegations that Blagojevich tried to cash in on the ability to appoint Barack Obama's successor in the U.S. Senate.&nbsp; And they didn't buy the defense claim that Blagojevich was just talking and throwing around ideas.&nbsp; One said, "He was being tried on attempting and not committing the crime and when you say you're going to float an idea as opposed to asking someone to do it, that's where and there was several times where he said you know, do it, push that, get this done, and I think that's where you cross the line of just floating an idea and actually doing it."</p><p>After talking to reporters for 21 minutes, a court employee brought the questioning to an end, and the jurors made their way to the basement of the federal court building and got into a 15-passenger van that took them to various train stations.&nbsp; A half dozen got out near Union Station and they hugged on the sidewalk outside the idling van.&nbsp; Two of the women were actually alternate jurors who came downtown just to hear the verdict.&nbsp; They didn't participate in deliberations, something they're still stewing about.&nbsp; "You know after you've been sitting through that for several weeks, I mean I had four notebooks full of notes, I was ready to deliberate and I knew what I wanted to say in deliberations, so unfortunately we never got that chance. But I will say I don't think I would have done anything differently than what they chose," said juror 190.</p><p>The two part ways outside an entrance to Union Station, giving each other yet another hug.&nbsp; The say they love each other and promise to see each other again, but they are both anxious to catch their trains, and Juror 190 is also anxious to finally talk to her family about the forbidden topic that's consumed her life since she was picked for jury service two months ago.</p></p> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 08:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/inside-blagojevich-jury-deliberations-88427 Waiting game for reporters covering Blagojevich http://www.wbez.org/content/waiting-game-reporters-covering-blagojevich <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-18/P1000876.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The waiting game at federal court resumes Monday morning as jurors continue deliberations in the corruption retrial of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/timeline-trials-and-tribulations-rod-blagojevich-87969" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-20/timelinepromo.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 187px; float: left; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px;" title=""></a>Monday is the sixth day of deliberations, which means it's the sixth day of hanging out in the federal court cafeteria for a couple dozen reporters awaiting the verdict.</p><p>When the verdict is announced, it will probably take the governor a half an hour or more to get to court, but ABC's Paul Meincke says his station will immediately go live with coverage. That means he can't leave because he'll need to be in the building so he has something to describe to his viewers.&nbsp;</p><p>"We wait for Rod Blagojevich to arrive," Meincke said. "We see what he looks like when he goes in.&nbsp; I gotta be able to describe what was his demeanor.&nbsp; I mean you can guess what it would be, but you gotta be there, you gotta see it.&nbsp; You gotta be able to describe who's waiting to get in and then, you gotta be able to get a seat."</p><p>In the meantime Meincke says he's studying up on the case and discussing it with colleagues, though he admits he finds time for some other pursuits:&nbsp; "In the interests of full disclosure, we play games, we watch YouTube, we see some Marx brothers, we have some laughs," said Meincke.</p></p> Mon, 20 Jun 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/waiting-game-reporters-covering-blagojevich Blagojevich jury asks for clarity on instructions http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-jury-asks-clarity-instructions-87951 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-16/112789045.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Jurors deliberating for a fifth day at the corruption retrial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich have asked for clarification.&nbsp;</p><p>They sent a note Thursday to Judge James Zagel asking for clarification of jury instructions that serve as a guide in their deliberations.</p><p>The instruction they asked about dealt with the first ten of 20 counts Blagojevich faces.&nbsp;</p><p>All ten are wire fraud counts and most relate to allegations that Blagojevich sought to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.</p><p>After reading the note in court, Zagel said he wasn't certain what words jurors didn't understand. He replied telling them to look at the instruction again. If they still need help, he said they should send another note specifying what they don't understand.</p><p>Blagojevich has denied any wrongdoing.</p></p> Thu, 16 Jun 2011 19:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-jury-asks-clarity-instructions-87951 Blagojevich jurors sort through confusing laws http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-jurors-sort-through-confusing-laws-87804 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-13/P1000884.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Tuesday marks the third day of deliberations in the corruption retrial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.&nbsp;</p><p>A teacher, a dietitian and a former church choir director are among those on the jury, which includes 11 women and one man.&nbsp;</p><p>One of the most difficult things jurors have to do is to go through the law and try to understand it before they can figure out if Blagojevich broke it.&nbsp;</p><p>For example, in order to find him guilty of attempted extortion, they have to find several things: that he acted under color of official right, that the victims would have parted with money or property because of the extortion, and that the extortion would have affected interstate commerce.</p><p>Jurors may spend a significant amount of time just trying to figure out what all those phrases mean.&nbsp;</p><p>Then they have to decide if Blagojevich took a "substantial step" toward extortion.&nbsp; That could include having a meeting where Blagojevich suggests a trade, as prosecutors say he did when he sought a job in President Barack Obama's cabinet in exchange for appointing Obama's preferred candidate to the Senate.&nbsp;</p><p>Prosecutors say Blagojevich took another substantial step when he directed one of his advisors to use back channels to push the idea of the trade with Obama's advisors.</p><p>The jury is wading through dozens of prosecution exhibits, including FBI wiretaps recordings.</p><p>Blagojevich faces 20 counts, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.</p><p>Jurors at Blagojevich's first trial deadlocked on all but one charge. He was convicted of lying to the FBI.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 14 Jun 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-jurors-sort-through-confusing-laws-87804 Jury of Blagojevich retrial ends first day of deliberations http://www.wbez.org/story/jury-blagojevich-retrial-ends-first-day-deliberations-87673 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-09/P1000699.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Jurors at the retrial of former governor Gov. Rod Blagojevich have gone home after a few hours of deliberations.</p><p>The jury began deliberations earlier Friday after receiving copies of jury instructions.</p><p>In his closing argument Thursday, Blagojevich's defense attorney Aaron Goldstein told jurors that they should believe the former governor, who spent seven days on the stand.&nbsp; Goldstein also spent a substantial portion of his time attacking the credibility of those who testified against Blagojevich, saying they just wanted to please prosecutors to avoid charges themselves.&nbsp;</p><p>Several of the government's witnesses were involved in Blagojevich's dealings.&nbsp; Some have pleaded guilty and cooperated with the government in exchange for shorter sentences.&nbsp; Others avoided charges but testified under grants of immunity, which guarantee that they won't be charged.</p><p>Prosecutors told jurors that Blagojevich is a convicted liar, and they made fun of the defense for implying that the whole trial was a government set-up to frame an innocent Blagojevich.</p><p>The judge also told attorneys he couldn't guess how long the jury might take to reach a decision.</p><p><em>--The Associated Press contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Fri, 10 Jun 2011 01:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/jury-blagojevich-retrial-ends-first-day-deliberations-87673 WBEZ's Robert Wildeboer examines closing arguments in the Blagojevich retrial http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-09/wbezs-robert-wildeboer-examines-closing-arguments-blagojevich-retrial-87 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-09/Blago Getty Scott Olson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Prosecutors are expected to resume their closing argument on Thursday in the corruption retrial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. On Wednesday, Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton got about an hour and a half into her close. WBEZ’s criminal and legal affairs reporter Robert Wildeboer says Hamilton’s argument was devastating in its simplicity. He joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to talk about that and other interesting developments in this fast moving case.</p><p><em>Music Button; Do Make Say Think, "Dr. Hooch", from the CD Do Make Say Think, (Constellation) </em></p></p> Thu, 09 Jun 2011 13:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-09/wbezs-robert-wildeboer-examines-closing-arguments-blagojevich-retrial-87 Blagojevich defense makes closing arguments http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-defense-makes-closing-arguments-87614 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-08/P1000889.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The defense has begun making its final arguments at the corruption retrial of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.</p><p>Defense attorney Aaron Goldstein started his closing Thursday. He says Blagojevich never made one shakedown or demand.</p><p>Prosecutors wrapped up their closing arguments earlier in the day. Government attorney Carrie Hamilton walked jurors through the charges against Blagojevich and said their evidence proved him guilty.</p><p>Blagojevich faces allegations including that he sought to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.</p><p>He's also accused of trying to shake down executives by threatening state decisions that would hurt their businesses. He has denied any wrongdoing.</p></p> Thu, 09 Jun 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/blagojevich-defense-makes-closing-arguments-87614 Prosecutors expected to continue questioning of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-07/prosecutors-expected-continue-questioning-former-gov-rod-blagojevich-875 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-07/Blago Getty Scott Olson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Prosecutors are expected to resume their questioning of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday. He was on the stand answering their questions all day Monday. Spectators hoping to catch some of the fireworks arrived at 5 a.m. to get tickets inside the courtroom. But the proceedings were much more subdued than the previous week. WBEZ’s Robert Wildeboer has been following all the action and joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> for the latest.</p><p><em>Music Button: Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra, "Electric Tit", from the CD Moods and Grooves, (Ubiquity)</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 07 Jun 2011 13:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-07/prosecutors-expected-continue-questioning-former-gov-rod-blagojevich-875