Juror from first trial praises Blago jury
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org June 27, 2011 10:30PM
081710/Matteson, Illinois Rod Blagojevich juror Jesse Blue makes a first quick statements to the press upon his return to his home in Matteson Tuesday night. av081710 TIN_jesseblue_P1 Photo By: Art Vassy/SouthtownStar
Updated: October 28, 2011 12:29PM
A Matteson man who served on the jury in the first trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich said the jury got it right this time.
“The only thing I can say is I think they did a very good job,” Jesse Blue said Monday after Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 of 20 counts, including trying to sell President Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat.
“I’m thankful that they were able to reach a verdict,” Blue said.
Blagojevich was acquitted of another bribery charge, and the jury failed to reach a verdict on charges of attempted extortion.
Blue, a 72-year-old retired postal worker, said he “was not surprised” the jury found Blagojevich guilty on counts that included fraud, attempted extortion and bribery.
“There was a lot of evidence against him,” Blue said.
Blue declined to say how he voted in Blagojevich’s first trial.
In August, the jury on which Blue served was deadlocked on 23 charges against Blagojevich and found him guilty of one, lying to the FBI.
“I wasn’t really disappointed (after the first trial) because you’ve got 12 people in there who have to make up their minds. There’s a lot of discussion going on, a lot of emotions,” Blue said.
Perhaps reflecting the view of many Illinois residents, Blue said he’s “glad it’s over.”
Blagojevich could be sentenced to up to 300 years, but experts predict it will be in the 10 to 15 year range.
“I’d rather not comment on that,” Blue said when asked how many years Blagojevich deserved behind bars.
He said the verdict “gives (Illinois) a very bad reputation,” with three former governors in recent decades having been sent to prison.
In being convicted, Blagojevich follows in the infamous footsteps of George Ryan, Dan Walker and Otto Kerner, although Walker’s conviction was based on actions after he left office.
That track record has Blue “looking at (future governors) with, I guess, a little mistrust and wonder,” he said.