Jurors in Blagojevich case head home for weekend without reaching verdict
BY NATASHA KORECKI AND LARK TURNER Staff Reporters June 16, 2011 6:20PM
Updated: August 3, 2011 10:36PM
Jurors in Rod Blagojevich’s case concluded their fifth day of deliberations Thursday without reaching a verdict. But they did send the judge their first substantive question.
The panel of 11 women and one man sent U.S. District Judge James Zagel a note asking for clarification on an instruction of law that had to do with the wire fraud counts against the impeached governor. Out of the 20 counts pending against Blagojevich, 10 of them are wire fraud counts that largely deal with an allegation that he tried to trade an appointment to the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama for a campaign contribution or job. To conclude Blagojevich was guilty of wire fraud, jurors must find the prosecution proved he committed four elements of wire fraud beyond a reasonable doubt.
The jurors specifically asked about one of those elements in the 70-page list of instructions, which reads “that the scheme to defraud involved a materially false and fraudulent pretense, representation, promise, or concealment.”
The jurors were told to reread the entirety of their instructions and if they still were not clear, they should ask the judge for further clarification.
The jury left for the day — and weekend — without leaving any other questions. They resume deliberations on Monday.
Meanwhile, Sam Adam Jr., one of Blagojevich’s lead attorneys during his first trial and who is still listed as an attorney in the case, was seen in the courthouse Thursday shortly after lawyers were called to meet privately with Zagel. The typically outspoken Adam, who has given TV and radio interviews discussing the Blagojevich case as recently as earlier this week, would not answer media questions on Thursday.
“I must decline comment,” he said. “I cannot tell you why.”