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Tag: James Zagel

Surprise: Ex-Gov. Blago May Not Testify After All in Fed Trial

Ex-Gov Blagojevich

Ex-Gov Blagojevich

UPDATE: Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich did not testify in court this morning, as his defense team rested without calling a witness. Closing arguments are scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

“It is my decision, judge,” Blagojevich said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “I made the decision freely.” Before the trial, the ex-governor maintained he would testify on his own behalf, a claim he reiterated as recently as Monday.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The lawyers for Rod Blagojevich may ask the ex-Illinois governor to do what he’s least good at: Keeping his big yap shut.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that defense attorneys told U.S. District Judge James Zagel Tuesday afternoon that they planned to rest their case without presenting a witness, including Blagojevich, who had been expected to take the stand.

The paper reported that the judge, in a private conference, told lawyers to think about it overnight.

The Sun-Times reported that the father and son defense lawyer team — Sam Adam Sr. and Sam Adam Jr. — said they disagree over whether the ex-gov should testify.

The father thought he shouldn’t because the government failed to prove its case, the paper reported. The son said he should since he promised jurors in his opening statement that Blagojevich would testify.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Fed Judge in ex-Gov. Blagojevich Case is Actor and Novelist

Blagojevich in happier days

Blagojevich in happier days

Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich won’t be the only true character in the courtroom when his public corruption trial begins in June. The judge presiding over the case has quite a background.

MIKE ROBINSON
The Associated Press
CHICAGO – Judge James B. Zagel has meted out justice on the silver screen and masterminded a bank robbery in the pages of a novel.

But the veteran federal court judge who will preside over former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial leaves any theatrics behind when he dons his black robe and takes the bench.

Lawyers whose antics go over the top are swiftly silenced in Zagel’s courtroom , not with a tyrannical thwack of the gavel but with a deft, sly, sarcastic turn of phrase. Those who know Zagel say that approach will serve him well as he presides over Blagojevich’s trial , one of the biggest cases of his 22-year career.

“Nothing gets out of control in Judge Zagel’s court,” says Ronald Safer, a former federal prosecutor who recalls getting this warning when he was too loudly repetitive during a cross examination, at least in Zagel’s view: “First, turn it down about two levels. Second, the lily has been gilded.”

Blagojevich’s trial, set for next June, is Zagel’s second headline-grabbing case in two years. In 2007, he presided over the three-month Operation Family Secrets murder conspiracy trial, Chicago’s biggest organized crime case in decades. The judge sent three reputed mob bosses to prison for life.

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