Lawyers for Rod Blagojevich will have a little more time to plan for his retrial.
Friday Judge James Zagel agreed to move the trial date to April 20, 2011. Defense attorneys Sheldon Sorosky and Aaron Goldstein had asked for a five month extension because of their extreme workload.
"It would force . . . two trial lawyers to proceed hastily to trial in circumstances where the government's resources and lawyers have not been reduced nor changed at all," the motion said.
Before issuing his ruling to continue Zagel tried, in at least two instances, to nudge the defense team to present its case in a different fashion during the re-trial.
"While the government may proceed exactly as before. The defense will do things differently. I think they have to," Zagel said.
"Given the resolution (the one guilty count against Blago), and given there has to be a retooling of the defense in substance, tone, and tenor...I think the motion to continue is appropriate."
Remember, the flamboyant and fiesty component of the Blago litigation team, the father/son Adam duo, is not a part of the re-trial defense. Blago's three attorney defense team is now led by attorney Sheldon Sorosky, widely regarded by the legal community to be a contemplative and cerebral litigator, which is a style that's more in-line with the subdued trappings of federal court proceedings.
After his first trial ended in virtual stand still, a broke Blagojevich was forced to shed lawyers and use public funds for his defense.
The initial trial date is now set for April 20, with jury selection slated to begin on the 21st.
Now the trial's timing won't conflict with the mayoral race in February, which should be good news for at least one candidate. Rahm Emanuel is considered a potential witness for the defense.