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Judge to Hold Juror Names Longer at Blago's Second Trial

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Judge to Hold Juror Names Longer at Blago's Second Trial
Jack Higgins

Jurors in the second trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will be spared the immediate onslaught of media attention when their work is done.

Judge James Zagel said at a status hearing on Wednesday that he would hold the jurors' names for 24 hours after their verdict is announced.

Jurors names were released almost immediately after the first trial ended in deadlock last month.  Several jurors expressed disatisfaction with the media's instant attention.

Zagel also said that any potential jurors in the upcoming trial should immediately refrain from reading, watching or consuming any media reports on the beleaguered governor once they receive a summons in the mail.

What wasn't decided Wednesday was the number of lawyers that would represent Blagojevich going forward.  Zagel had said he wanted to look through Blagojevich's finances before deciding to limit the governor's counsel. 

During the first trial, which ended in 23 hung counts, Blago carried six lawyers, including Sam Adam Sr., Sam Adam Jr. and Sheldon Sorosky.

But Blagojevich's campaign fund has run dry and the public will likely have to pick up the tab for his defense on the second go around. Guidelines recommend that any criminal using public funds for his defense be limited to two attorneys.

Zagel could sidestep the guideline, but that's not likely.

If Blago is limited to two lawyers, it's unclear who will remain on his defense team. Charismatic father and son team Sam Adam and Sam Adam Jr. said they would stay on, but the $110 per hour public defender's fee to which they'll be limited can't be that attractive.

Sorosky was the only member of Blagojevich's defense team to attend court Wednesday.  He said every member of the team is willing to stay on for free if that's what it takes.

"Everyone wants to stay on, because everyone feels that the governor is innocent and everyone is committed to the governor.  On the other hand, everyone feels that if it's in the governor's best interest to not participate in the case or whatever the reason, everyone is willing to do that too," he said.

Another status hearing was scheduled for Oct. 1.

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