Ward Room
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Judge Denies Jury Request for Closing Arguments Transcripts

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Judge James Zagel today denied a request by the jury for a transcript of closing arguments in the case against Rod and Robert Blagojevich.

    It was not immediately clear whether the jury requested both the prosecution's and the defense's close. Zagel would not read the note from the jury aloud. In either case, Zagel said that transcripts are not evidence and that the jury could not view them.

    Attorneys for both Robert and Rod Blagojevich were opposed to providing the transcripts.

    The jury request provides some small amount of insight into the jury's mindset, and to the efficacy of both sides' arguments.

    The prosecution's closing arguments centered on the letter of the law, and on how both Blagojevich brothers did not have to be successful in their schemes to have been in violation.

    "The government does not have to prove he said I'll do 'X for Y'," said defense attorney Chris Niewoehner during his close. "He just has to take a substantial step."

    The defense, on the other hand, concentrated on how Rod Blagojevich never received any money, and never executed on any of his alleged plans to trade the Senate seat for a valuable appointment.

    "Nobody's going to say he's the sharpest knife in the drawer," Adam Jr. told the jury during his close.  "But he's not a crook ..."