Close this search box.

Blagojevich Case Goes To Jury

The jury in the corruption trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has finished hearing the legal instructions from the judge and has been sent to begin deliberations in private.
It took U. S. District Judge James Zagel a little more than an hour to instruct the panel.

Zagel told the group the only proper way to communicate with him is in writing signed by the foreperson.

“If you have a numerical division at that time,” he said, don’t specify it in any note.

The jury left the courtroom to begin deliberations at 11:48 a.m., according to a clock in the courtroom.

Zagel read the jury the controversial instruction No. 61, which the lawyers sparred over during closing arguments.

If you know the case, it’s not hard to see why both sides might highlight it.

During his closing, Blagojevich’s lawyer, Sam Adam Jr., read a portion of it.

“Acceptance by an elected official of a campaign contribution, by itself, does not constitute extortion under color of official right, even if the person making the contribution has business pending before the official.”

The defense thinks that gives former Gov. Rod Blagojevich some leeway when it comes to instances such as when he sought campaign money from a construction executive while Blagojevich weighed a major expansion of the tollway system.

During closing arguments yesterday, Assistant U. S. Atty. Reid Schar asked that the jury then hear the rest of that instruction.

“However, if a public official receives or attempts to obtain money or property, believing that it would be given in exchange for a specific requested exercise of his official power, he has committed extortion under color of official right, even if the money or property is to be given to the official in the form of a campaign contribution.”

The government, of course, contends Blagojevich hinged his official decisions on whether he was getting campaign money from people with a stake in his actions — and that would be a crime.

(Source: Chicago Tribune)

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts