Someone talked, and the judge isn't having it.
Apparently concerned by a Sun-Times report about the Blagojevich trial that was sourced from a jury candidate, Judge Zagel reminded the jury this morning to stay away from media coverage of the trial.
"Again," Judge Zagel said when the jury filed in, "be careful to avoid contact with any media about this trial. You must not communicate with anyone."
Zagel also reminded them they were not to be discussing it among themselves. At that, testimony resumed.
Over the weekend, a Chicago Sun-Times says a former jury candidate, David Hallstrom, contacted them and said the waiting jurors openly talked about news coverage of the case, in defiance of Judge James Zagel's order that they could no longer watch, read, or listen to stories about the case.
Hallstrom said jury candidates had been divided into two rooms. In his room, he said as many as half a dozen prospective jurors discussed coverage they had seen the preceding weekend. In the room, but not actively taking part in the discussion, he said, was a woman who is now sitting on the Blagojevich jury.
On a related note, Hallstrom, the former juror #169, said he found it astounding that he had been selected as qualified to serve, even though he revealed during questioning that he had served in, as he put it, "the most political of all state agencies," the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, during the administration of former governor James Thompson.
Hallstrom had also made negative comments during questioning, about politicians. "Some politicians are motivated by public good, but they are rare," he told Zagel. "Most are motivated by ego, control, power, and money."