Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Blagojevich Jury Deadlocked on Some Counts

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The attorney for Robert Blagojevich says he, other attorneys and even Judge James Zagel are confused by what the jury requires to break what appears to be a stalemate.

    The jury in the Rod Blagojevich corruption trial sent a note to Judge James Zagel Wednesday afternoon saying that they couldn't reach a decision on a number of counts.

    "We've gone beyond reasonable attempts [to reach a verdict]," the jury said in a note. Zagel noted they have reached the impasse without "rancor," or heated infighting.

    The jury then asked to go home for the day.

    Zagel said he needs further clarification on which charges they are undecided before deciding on the next step.

    If the jury is deadlocked, Zagel could enforce the Allen charge, which encourages the jury to re-examine their positions and work diligently towards a verdict.

    Zagel thought the note was important enough to summon Rod and Robert Blagojevich and their lawyers to court. He summoned them sometime after 2:00 p.m., they arrived closer to 4 p.m.

    It's unclear where the jury stands at this moment. They could be deadlocked on all, or just a few of the 24 charges facing Blagojevich.

    The note and the aftermath likely means more deliberation from jurors and does not signal an end in sight.

    Prior to the open court session, the judge, jury and attorneys spent 15 minutes in a closed door session. The attorneys have been ordered not to disclose what was said during that session.

    Michael Ettinger, the lead attorney for Rod Blagojevich's brother, said nobody had any idea what the jury was thinking.

    "I understood [the note] to mean they couldn't make a decision," said Ettinger in the lobby of Dirksen Federal Court building. "We don't know what it means, the judge doesn't know what it means."