Lone ‘gentleman’ juror doesn’t feel sorry for Rod Blagojevich
by Jon Seidel Sun-Times Media email@example.com June 28, 2011 1:38PM
John McParland, the lone male in the Blagojevich retrial jury talks to the media at his home in Villa Park on 6-28-2011. l Keith Hale~Sun-times
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Updated: June 28, 2011 10:50PM
John McParland is “all Boston.”
The 53-year-old Villa Park man threw on a black Boston Bruins cap and a Red Sox T-shirt Tuesday, the day after he and 11 other federal jurors convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges in Chicago.
The former Juror No. 174 stood outside his red-brick home under a fluttering American flag, and he said he “definitely” feels bad for Blagojevich’s two daughters, whose father faces a potentially lengthy prison sentence.
He feels bad for Illinois’ former first lady, Patti Blagojevich. Sort of.
But he doesn’t feel bad for the former governor.
“For him himself, it’s hard to feel sorry about him,” McParland said, “because, why are you doing this in the first place?”
McParland said he wasn’t moved by Blagojevich’s testimony. Particularly unconvincing, he said, was the politician’s attempt to explain what he “meant” by comments caught on tape by the government.
“You’re talking in, like, two different languages, then?” McParland said.
But McParland also said he thinks many politicians “do dirty work, anyway.” He said he’s not really into politics, and his family generally votes Republican. He said he didn’t vote for Democrat Blagojevich or his Republican predecessor already in prison, George Ryan.
“Sometimes I just don’t want to vote,” McParland said.
Though he said he collects some unemployment pay, McParland also does on-call custodial work at Downers Grove North High School. He said the trial didn’t keep him from watching his Bruins’ pursuit for their first Stanley Cup championship since 1972. He taped the games and was able to watch them live, just as he’s done for other Boston teams.
He even said he has radio recordings of the Bruins’ last championship.
Conversations with his family throughout the two-month trial were reserved to topics such as food served to the jury, McParland said. Monday was a Dunkin’ Donuts day, and Tuesdays meant Panera Bread.
When McParland heard news reports about the trial, he said he’d try to avoid them by leaving the room or changing the channel. He’s not sure whether his neighbors knew he was on the jury, but a parade of reporters through his neighborhood Tuesday might have tipped them off.
And unlike the jury at Blagojevich’s last trial, McParland said everyone got along well in the jury room this time. He said he’d mostly let the other 11 women do the talking, and he wouldn’t mind if someone disagreed with him.
He’s a shy guy, who jury foreman Connie Wilson of Naperville referred to as “our gentleman.”
Asked about that, McParland just smiled and said, “only gentleman, I guess.”