Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Defense Regret: That Jesse Jr. Never Got Called

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    NEWSLETTERS

    "It's up, it's down, oh my god we're going to lose the whole thing!" said Sam Adam Jr. of how he's constantly nervous about the Blagojevich verdict.

    The clock continued to tick Tuesday at the Dirksen Federal Building, where jurors in the Rod Blagojevich corruption case entered their tenth day of deliberations.

    "One minute you're up, the next minute you're down!" said a nervous defense lawyer Sam Adam Jr., describing the roller coaster of his emotions. "The next minute it's hung, then after that, it's hung, but they're gonna do a couple of counts, and then it's gonna be more than a couple of counts, and then it's gonna be not guiltys across the board, and oh my God we're gonna lose the whole thing, and oh my goodness we're back to a couple of counts!"

    Adam's father Sam Sr. said even after 48 years of watching juries, he still has butterflies over this one, and has been sleeping, at most, 2 hours a night. He said the former governor is praying with his family for a good outcome.

    "Their biggest problem is not letting this get to their children," Adam said. "Their little girl, Annie, who is 8 years old, you know, they've got to keep all of the news away from her. And it's very difficult. And she's scared she's going to lose her daddy!"

    Each of the lawyers offered different theories about why the jurors are taking so much time in their deliberations.

    "Obviously, there's some people for us and some people against us," Sam Sr. said. "And we have no idea whether it's eleven to one, or six and six, or what the lineup is."

    Michael Ettinger, who represents gubernatorial brother Robert Blagojevich, said his client is coping well, but he is nervous.

    "You can't get it off your mind," Ettinger said. "You can't work on anything else. I'm on one hour call here, so I can't go to court anywhere else!"

    Ettinger said he is as curious as anyone, where the jurors are in their deliberations.

    "They've had enough time to go through the evidence," Ettinger said. "I'm sure they took a vote in the beginning, and I think they're fighting. They're doing their job!"

    The veteran attorney said he has had no second thoughts about his trial strategy, but was as taken aback as anyone when the Blagojevich team rested. He said he had been counting on them to call Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., in hopes of defusing a prosecution claim that Jackson's representatives offered campaign cash in exchange for the Obama Senate seat.

    "When the governor rested without putting any evidence ... we were counting on Jesse Junior being called by them," Ettinger said, adding that he intended to call Raghu Nayak, the Jackson supporter who the government said had allegedly offered the deal.

    He speculated that the Blagojevich defense team was unprepared when the government rested, and had no time to get their client ready for the stand.

    "You know, if you think you've got another four, five, six weeks, you would use that time preparing him. And now all of a sudden, you're up in a week? Tough call!"

    As the days drag on, is Rod Blagojevich prepared for the possibility of a guilty verdict?

    "Never," Sam Adam Jr. declared. "And I'll be honest with you. Nobody is!"