Judge Denies Blago's Attempts to Play Tapes - NBC Chicago
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Judge Denies Blago's Attempts to Play Tapes

Zagel says defense request was vague and late



    Rod Blagojevich suffered a setback Monday, as Judge James Zagel declared the former governor's efforts to play scores of until-now unplayed secret recordings as "simply wrongful."

    Zagel blasted the defense request as vague and late. While over 180 tapes are cited in the defense request -- involving individuals as diverse as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, and the Blagojevich children -- the judge said he was given no guidance about which portions of the tapes the attorneys hoped to play.

    "The motion seeks leave to reference and/or play brief portions of recordings," Zagel wrote. "There is nothing new in these recordings. They have been in the possession of the defense for many months and the defense has had the means to identify what parts of the tape it considers critical."

    Zagel did grant a separate motion, to re-examine the testimony of former Blagojevich aide John Wyma. The former governor's lawyers charge that Wyma cut a deal to have prosecutors look the other way on crimes he may have committed, in exchange for helping the government tape his former boss.

    John Wyma's lawyer Zach Fardon, dismissed the suggestion out of hand, saying that his client's cooperation with the government came with "no preconditions."

    "The motion suggests there was a secret deal," Fardon said.  "That's false.  It's just not true."

    A hearing on that matter is set for Friday.

    Blagojevich is scheduled to be sentenced next week.