CHICAGO - AUGUST 17: Sam Adam (R) and his son Sam Adam Jr., attorneys for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, leave the courthouse after attending a hearing to hear a question from the jury August 17, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Blagojevich has been charged with corruption while in office including accusations of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama after Obama's November 2008 election. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sam Adam
The father and son legal duo that helped argue Rod Blagojevich's corruption case to a virtual stalemate won't be back for a repeat performance.
"It has been agreed to by both Former Governor Blagojevich and the entire defense team, that attorneys Samuel F. Adam and Samuel E. Adam, not represent Former Governor Blagojevich at trial, but shall remain in an advisory position assisting with strategy and preparation for trial," the motion states.
After Blagojevich's legal defense fund ran dry this summer, he was forced to apply for public funds for his defense. Rules stipulate that lawyers paid from public funds be compensated at a rate of $110 per hour. A defendant using public funds also is limited to carrying two lawyers for their defense.
Sheldon Sorosky and Aaron Goldstein will take over as lead counsel when the second trial begins in January.
The Adam boys did embed a caveat in their motion, saying they'll remain available to the Blagojevich defense team on a pro-bono basis, but won't argue in court.
"[We] are dedicating the entire third floor of their law office to the remaining trial team for as long as necessary, and without reimbursement for that space. Furthermore, both Samuel F. Adam and Samuel E. Adam shall dedicate as much time as necessary to help with trial preparation and strategy Pro Bono."
Prosecutor Patrick Collins called the shift a big negative for the defense, pointing out that the younger Adam brought passion to the case.
And the move presents a big question: Will the government try a different approach now that the defense team has already seen their hand in a full-blown trial?
"The problem that they have... that they can't fix with any witness, is that the core crimes that they've charged weren't completed. The Senate seat wasn't sold, the [Chicago] Tribune editorial board wasn't fired," said Collins.