Blagojevich Prosecutors Request Secret Filing - NBC Chicago
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Blagojevich Prosecutors Request Secret Filing



    Prosecutors in the upcoming trial of former governor Rod Blagojevich have asked Judge James Zagel to allow them to file a crucial document in secret.

      That document, known as the "Santiago proffer", is typically filed 60 days prior to trial, and provides a road map of the evidence prosecutors expect to present.  It typically explains the roles various co-conspriators may have played, and what the defendant allegedly said to them in enlisting their help in the conspiracy.
    "The government's proffer describes in significant detail the evidence that supports certain criminal charges against defendants Rod Blagojevich and Robert Blagojevich," the prosecutors wrote in the motion, which was filed today.  "In recognition that the process of qualifying a pool of jurors has recently begun (or will start shortly) and that there is evidence described in the Government's Proffer that has not previously been disclosed, the government in an abundance of caution, seeks leave to file (it) under seal."
    Filing such documents in secret is unusual but not unheard of.  In the "Family Secrets" organized crime trial here in Chicago, prosecutors filed the same proffer under seal, and it was not revealed until attorneys for the Chicago Tribune went to court.
    The Blagojevich prosecutors seem to leave open the possibility that they would not oppose releasing the document if Zagel approves it.  In today's motion, they say they would like to only "intially" keep it under wraps, to allow defense attorneys and the judge time to review the filing "before it is made public". 
    "After hearing from the parties, the court can provide the government with direction as to what portion, if any, of the government's proffer, should remain under seal," they write, in a two page motion.
    The trial is set to begin June 3.