Inside the Blagojevich Trial
Blago Verdict: “Reading The Tea Leaves”
August 16, 2010 - 2:12 PM | by: Ruth Ravve
“I think he’s gonna walk” speculated one security guard, as I entered the Dirksen Federal building, “but who knows”. The jury in the Rod and Robert Blagojevich trial is back to deliberating today. Everyone scrambled into Judge James Zagel’s courtroom this morning as it was announced that the jury had a question. The jury wanted complete transcripts from the testimony of former Illinois Deputy Governor Bradley Tusk. Tusk testified about Blago delaying a state grant for a public school that’s in the district of then Congressman Rahm Emanuel. It was alleged that Blago wanted campaign funds raised for him, before he would release the taxpayer cash to the school.
“This is good for the government” says former prosecutor Jeffrey Cramer, of Kroll Associates, commenting on the recent jury request. “I think they’re starting to look at some of the acts…it looks like they’re really getting into some testimony”.
However when defense attorney Michael Ettinger was asked if he thought this could mean there will be a hung jury, he said “Yes I do”.
This is the fifth note from the jury so far, since they began deliberating July 28, which seems to mean they’re having a tougher time than many expected in deciding on 24 counts against the former governor, and 4 against his older brother. Eleven days into deliberations, the jury told the judge they had only agreed on two counts and despite their best efforts, couldn’t agree on 11 others. At that point they hadn’t even voted yet on the wiretap charges.
Each note creates great anticipation. “Its brutal on the lawyers, but for the government its better than a hung jury” says Cramer. ”I’m just trying to read the tea leaves” says Ettinger.