If all goes according to current plans, the much anticipated defense of Rod Blagojevich will begin next Wednesday. But his lawyers, at least publicly, are keeping their witness list a closely guarded secret.
Attorneys will be in court Monday, but the jury has been told to return Wednesday for the actual resumption of testimony.
It is known that the defense’s current plan is to call Blagojevich himself sometime during their case in chief. But even prosecutors have not received a bona fide list of who else to expect in the witness box.
For now, they only have a list of potential witnesses, which includes some of the state’s most prominent political names.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is on that list, as are congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, Sen. Dick Durbin and Majority Leader Harry Reid. The key question, of course, is who has the potential to actually help Blagojevich, by taking the stand?
"All these prominent people, whose names you’ve heard, they’ve all been subpoenaed," said defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky. "They all know they’re under subpoena."
The fact that an individual has received a court subpoena does not mean they will actually be called. For those who are summoned to testify, timing may be key. Judge James Zagel said Friday he would work around the schedules of some witnesses and might even curtail testimony some days next week if it is difficult to get some of them into court.
"They’re all prominent people, with difficult schedules and activities," Sorosky said.
Now that the prosecution’s case is completed, Sorosky said he will ask that some of the charges in the indictment be curtailed.
"There were a number of topics in the indictment that the government never mentioned," he said. "Our hope would be that the judge would dismiss those."
While sources have confirmed that the Blagojevich legal team intends to put their client on the stand, such decisions are subject to change. Blagojevich publicly announced that he would testify in his first trial, but chose to remain silent at the conclusion of the prosecution’s case.
That jury was able to reach a verdict on only a single count.