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Bonds Jurors Kept Anonymous Thanks to Blago

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The elder Blagojevich brother says he's now "pro-defendant" and says the presumption of innocence is something America seems to give up too easily. (Published Thursday, Aug 26, 2010)

    Impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich indirectly helped keep jurors anonymous this week in the perjury trial of retired baseball player Barry Bonds.

    Despite their differences -- Bonds allegedly lied about taking steroids, Blagojevich was convicted of lying to the FBI -- the cases became linked when a judge pointed to media attention surrounding the former governor's trial as reason to keep Bonds' jurors anonymous.

    Robert Blagojevich: I'm Now Sympathetic to Barry Bonds

    [CHI] Robert Blagojevich: I'm Now Sympathetic to Barry Bonds
    The elder Blagojevich brother says he's now "pro-defendant" and says the presumption of innocence is something America seems to give up too easily. (Published Thursday, Aug 26, 2010)

    Judge Susan Illston ruled to keep jurors' names secret until after the verdict, alluding to a similar decision last year from Blagojevich Judge James Zagel.

    Zagel withheld jurors' names to protect them from the media.

    Some question the decision, saying the public has a right to know jurors' names. Others contend it's the judge's responsibility to shield jurors from media to ensure an unbiased verdict. 

    Jurors are expected to begin hearing the perjury trial of Barry Bonds this week.

    In her ruling, Illston quoted Zagel: "Jurors summoned from the community to serve as participants in our democratic system of justice are entitled to safety, privacy and protection against harassment."

    Last year, Blagojevich's elder brother Robert said his indictment by the federal government made him more sympathetic to Bonds.

    "I never thought much about Barry Bonds being hounded on steroids, other than he used steroids, but now, you know, the government's going after him, and I'm kind of sympathetic to Barry Bonds, having been in my position. It's kind of a weird thing," Robert Blagojevich said.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.