Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Blagojevich Hearing Sets the Stage for Retrial




    Lawyers for convicted governor Rod Blagojevich will be back in court Thursday, but it could be one of the last times they stand before a judge to represent him.

    Sam Adam and Sam Adam Jr., the electrifying legal team that helped the former governor garner 23 hung counts, could ask Judge James Zagel to allow them to walk away from the case before a retrial begins.

    Both have indicated that they would like to retire from the Blagojevich defense rather than go through a lengthy second act. Blagojevich has no money left to pay his high-priced attorneys after burning through a $2.8 million campaign fund -- and the lawyers would have to work at a public defender's rate of $110 per hour.

    Judge Zagel would have to release the lawyers from duty, but he could require that they stay on board because of the complexity of the case.

    At least a few of Blago's lawyers will be leaving the case. Rules dictate that a defendant who uses public funds for his defense can only carry two lawyers. Blago's had seven throughout the case.

    Before ruling on the lawyer issue, however, Zagel will likely set a date for the retrial. He's hinted he wants it to begin in January to spare jurors a Christmas trial.