The government of the United States declared today they have tired of the Rod Blagojevich road show.
Prosecutor Reid Schar asked a federal judge to rein in the impeached former governor, accusing Blagojevich of using his frequent public appearances as a calculated strategy to taint the jury for his upcoming trial.
“At some point, enough is enough,” Schar told judge James Zagel. “If he wants to continue to lie, he ought to be called on it.”
At issue, is the former governor’s continuing assertion that prosecutors are withholding tapes which might bolster his claims of innocence. Schar said Blagojevich knows it is the judge himself who has ruled on the admissibility of certain tapes, not the prosecution team.
“This is part of his attempt to poison what is going on,” Schar said, describing Blagojevich’s continuing public comments as “clear fabrications.”
Zagel stopped short of an outright gag order on Blagojevich, but said it would be “useful for the defendant to restrain himself.”
“He could, if he has not already done so, step over the line,” Zagel said. “You can consider my remarks today as a red flag.”
Zagel has indicated that some of the tapes in question can be played, if Blagojevich testifies. So far, the former governor’s defense team has declined to say if he will take the stand. But many observers agree that would be a calculated risk.
One of those observers is James Matsumoto, the jury foreman from Blagojevich’s first trial.
“He’s such a volatile person, that I think the prosecutors can goad him into saying something he could truly regret,” Matsumoto said, declaring that he believes it would be a big mistake for Blagojevich to take the stand in his upcoming trial.
At the same time, Matsumoto said he is convinced that if Blagojevich is attempting to taint his incoming jury, it will fall on deaf ears.
“It’s not effective, but I do think that’s his intent,” Matsumoto said. “I think jurors are smart enough to tell when someone is trying to feed them a line.”