Ward Room
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Blago Jury Confused Over Wire Fraud Language

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Blagojevich jury has gone home for the weekend after five days of deliberations. 

    Earlier Thursday they sent a note signaling some confusion about the jury instructions concerning wire fraud, the first 10 counts of the indictment.

    Specifically, they asked for clarification on this:

    "To sustain the charge of wire fraud...the government must prove the following propositions beyond a reasonable doubt:

    First, that the defendant knowingly devised or participated in a scheme to defraud the public of its right to the honest services of Rod Blagojevich or John Harris, by demanding, soliciting, seeking, asking for, or agreeing to accept, a bribe in the manner described in the particular count you are considering;

    Second, that the defendant did so with the intent to defraud;

    Third, that the scheme to defraud involved a materially false and fraudulent pretense, representation, promise, or concealment..."

    In particular, they were confused about that third clause.

    The judge is sending back another note which states:

    "I ask you to take another look at the relevant instruction.  After you have done so, if you think it is necessary, I ask you to state which particular words or phrases in the third proposition you believe need clarification."