Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrives at Federal Courthouse with his wife Patti Thursday, April 21, 2011 in Chicago. Jury selection began Wednesday, April 20. Blagojevich who was convicted of one count of lying to the FBI in his original trial, faces 20 federal counts at his second trial, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's former Senate seat.
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What to Expect Today:
Jury selection resumes during Day 3 of Rod Blagojevich's second corruption trial. Judge James Zagel said last week he wants jurors and alternates seated by Wednesday, speeding up the process compared to last year's tedious, weeks-long selection. As of Thursday, 22 potential jurors were questioned, and several of them were dismissed because of bias toward the impeached Illinois governor.
The Day's Updates:
Potential Blagojevich juror #137, who has 4 tickets to Oprah show on May 10th remains in the jury pool for now. When Judge Zagel referred to her as "The Oprah Juror" there was laughter in the courtroom. Prosecutor Reid Scharr sarcastically responded "It is the last year". Defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky quippped "Is it possible to work around (the taping that day)". While Zagel joked he could reschedule court, but won't, he did remark that "This juror will survive"
1:54 p.m.: The brother of potential Juror #111 lives just six houses down from Blagojevich.
1:15 p.m.: Blagojevich prosecutors are seeking to introduce an appearance by the former governor from January 27, 2009, on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show." The prosecutors want to play the tape, to prove that Blagojevich should have know that his activities were improper.
11:41 a.m.: Chicago Tribune employee Kevin Williams is Juror #138. When he noted it would be a tremendous hardship to serve on the jury because of his supervisory duties at the Tribune, Zagel joked, "I think that's very selfless of you. It would be a tremendous book opportunity if you sat on this jury."
11:04 a.m.: Juror #137 has tickets form May 10 "Oprah" show and doesn't want to miss it. [Read full story ...]
10:55 a.m.: Jury selection continued this morning, at the same slow and deliberate pace. Only one juror candidate so far has expressed any strong opinions. Juror #130 said she thought Blagojevich was "a little off center."
Juror #135, when asked about knowledge of the first trial said, "He was caught on tape." But she said she could be fair.
Thursday, April 21, 2011 -- Jurors Questioned
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 -- Welcome to the Retrial