Blago's Brother Wants Separate Trial

Monday, Nov 16, 2009  |  Updated 7:45 PM CDT
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Robert Blagojevich

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Rod Blagojevich's brother doesn’t want to be tried with the ex-governor.

Defense Attorney Michael Ettinger said he will file a formal motion asking that his client, Rob Blagojevich, have a separate trial. Ettinger said he would file the motion under a rule that says one party would cause "prejudice" to another if they were tried together.

"It’s basically his decision, not mine," Ettinger said of the ex-governor’s brother.

His request came after U.S. District Judge James Zagel agreed to give a separate trial to Downstate businessman William Cellini. Cellini and the government agreed last week to carve him out of the ex-governor’s trial, saying the two did not have enough overlapping issues.

Meanwhile today, Zagel declined to move the ex-governor’s trial from June. The defense had asked that the trial be pushed to September as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the definition of a statute used in the charges against the former governor and his brother. Zagel said if a Supreme Court ruling affects the case, he may delay the trial, but it would be a short delay.

Rod Blagojevich is charged with trying to sell or trade President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat for campaign money or a high-paying job for himself or his wife and an array of other offenses. He has pleaded not guilty and said he did not commit any
wrongdoing.

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