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Verdict Reached



    Under the Tucson Sun
    Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich smiles and waves at a supporter as he departs the federal courthouse after his defense team rested without calling any witnesses in his federal corruption trial Wednesday, July 21, 2010 in Chicago.

    Update: Rod and Robert Blagojevich were summoned to the Dirksen Federal Building. The jury is expected to issue a verdict shortly.

    US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is in the courtroom, as are the Blagojeviches. 

    In a court proceeding which has already had more than its share of bizarre twists and turns, jurors delivered one more Tuesday morning.

    Judge James Zagel summoned lawyers to an unusual closed door hearing in the giant ceremonial courtroom on the 25th floor of the Dirksen Federal Building, so that he could read the jurors' latest note with both defendants listening by speakerphone.  It was only after he held that hearing, out of the eyes of the public, that he read the note in open court.

    In that note, the jury asked for a copy of their oath of service.  That oath reads:

    "Do each of you solemnly swear, that you will well and truly try, and true deliverance make, in the case now on trial and render a true verdict according to the law and evidence, so help you God?"

    After that request, the jurors asked for guidance on how best to fill out their verdict forms, if they were unable to render verdicts on given counts.

    Why the jurors requested the oath was not immediately clear.

    "It sounds like some jurors are not voting," said Kent College Law Professor Richard Kling.  "And some other jurors are saying, 'look, you took this oath, you promised you would do it, vote!'"

    Prosecutors looked visibly shaken when they entered the courtroom after hearing what the jurors requested, while defense attorneys were laughing among themselves.

    "This is, I believe, finally over," said Michael Ettinger, attorney for Robert Blagojevich, the former governor's brother and co-defendant.  "I believe all that's left is to sign the jury form!"

    Asked why the jurors had asked for the oath, Ettinger echoed the speculation that some recalcitrant jurors were being pushed into action.  "Someone is going to be read the card, and accused of not following their oath," Ettinger said.  "One, two, three, four, I don't know how many.  I'm guessing.  But why else would they ask for that?"

    That said, Ettinger predicted good news for his client.  "I believe they are hung on the governor. I think the worst for my client is a hung jury, and I'm hoping they find him not guilty."