Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Blagojevich Jurors to Remain Anonymous




    The federal judge who will preside over Rod Blagojevich's retrial later this year ruled Tuesday that jurors' name will remain anonymous throughout the trial.

    Judge James Zagel also ruled that jurors' names will be not be made public until eight hours after the verdict is announced.

    The second part is a change from the former governor's first trial.  Jurors names were released within moments of the verdict's announcement last September.

    "Incidents occurring after juror names were released following the first trial counsels the wisdom of providing a short delay in releasing jurors' names, even after the verdict is returned," he wrote. 

    He did not specify with which incidents he took issue.

    In finding jurors, Zagel also said that the questionnaires that prospective members complete will be destroyed after the trial "to help ensure full candor of responses."

    Objections to the ruling must be filed by Feb. 17.  Zagel said he would hold a hearing the last week of the month.

    In advance of last year's trial, Chicago's news media filed a motion asking Zagel to reveal jurors' names so they could be vetted and "allow the public to verify the impartiality of the jury, ensuring fairness."

    Zagel didn't budge, contending that revealing their names would tempt bloggers to contact them during the testimony phase and could compromise the proceeding.

    Blagojevich's trial is slated to begin April 20.