Judge Admonishes Blagojevich, Rob Stays in Trial - NBC Chicago
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Judge Admonishes Blagojevich, Rob Stays in Trial



    Federal Judge James Zagel today admonished former Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his theatrics, rejected his claims of prosecutorial impropriety, and ruled that his brother, Robert Blagojevich, would remain attached to the trial.

    "This is not true," Zagel said, referring to Blagojevich's claim that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was keeping the full recordings under wraps. "The court decides, not the defendant or prosecutors."

    Zagel, having previously ruled on whether the defense could play recordings during the trial, asked Blagojevich's legal team to submit a list of tapes they'd like played.

    Zagel ruled that Robert Blagojevich will remain attached, adding that co-defendants facing lesser evidence usually fare better.

    Zagel, after reading a printed report on Blagojevich's press stunt yesterday evening, also admonished Blagojevich for his theatrics.

    "I will not allow legal head butts," Zagel said. Like a boxing match, there is a referee. This is not a sporting event, and all parties will conduct themselves."

    U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the target of much of Blagojevich's ire, was not in attendance.

    Blagojevich did not take questions afterwards, only stopping to make a single brief remark.

    "Let me say that I'm grateful, I'm very relieved, I want to begin by saying that Judge Zagel appears to be a very fair man, a very thoughtful man, and he's obviously well-schooled in the law," Blagojevich said. "I'm relieved with what the judge had to say with regard to giving me a chance to play the taped conversations that matter that will show that I've done nothing wrong."

    Earlier in the morning, Blagojevich laughed and smiled his way into the federal courthouse. He was surrounded by his entourage of lawyers and several people in the lobby taking cell cam pics, and entered to the sound of a single man clapping.

    About 100 or reporters and citizens, not to mention several federal building workers, lined up to get into the courtroom.

    This story will be updated.