Blago Delay Denied, Zagel Defends Jury Selection Process - NBC Chicago
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Blago Delay Denied, Zagel Defends Jury Selection Process



    Blago Delay Denied, Zagel Defends Jury Selection Process
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    Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich joined 13 other celebrities on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice. Blagojevich was the fourth celebrity eliminated.

    Ready, set, arbitrate.
    Just one day before the legal event of the season begins, lawyers on both sides of the Blagojevich trial were summoned by federal judge James B. Zagel for a pretrial huddle. 

    It was a short meeting in which Zagel refused a defense request that he reconsider some jury candidates who have already been excused for hardship.

    The judge explained why he decided to dismiss certain jurors, using the example of a prospective juror who is the sole practitioner at a medical office.

    "It is inconceiveable to me," he said, "that putting that person out of business for 15, 16, 17 weeks, is not a hardship."

    Once actual jury selection begins, he told defense attorneys "you will see the nature of the hardship claims that I did not accept!"

    Jurors in the case will be paid $160 per week.

    Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell President Obama's former senate seat to the highest bidder, among other things in a 24-count indictment that includes wire fraud, racketeering and attempted extortion.
    The former governor stands by his claims of innocence.

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