Defense Wrangles Over Jurors - NBC Chicago
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Defense Wrangles Over Jurors



    Blagojevich Tries to Charm Judge Zagel

    Blagojevich, speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, mentions his "profound respect" for Judge Zagel. (Published Friday, June 4, 2010)

    At least 19 potential jurors have been approved for the Blagojevich corruption trial.

    The day began with lawyers for both sides arguing which candidates should be kept off the jury. Among those eliminated, were two who declared they could not put their personal opinions aside, and two others who complained of potential hardships from such a lengthy proceeding.

    But, over the objections of the defense, two others who expressed opinions were accepted.

    One, juror number 125, who said, "I already believe Blagojevich to be guilty," said he could set his feelings aside, consider the evidence, and give the former governor a fair trial. The judge said he believed him, and kept him on the panel.

    All told, nine potential jurors were eliminated, and the judge has withheld a ruling on one other.

    Each side can still exercise what are known as peremptory challenges, where they do not have to give a reason. The defense can offer 13, the prosecution 9. For that reason, a pool of 40 candidates must be established, to achieve a jury of 12 with six alternates.

    Full Coverage:The Trial of Rod Blagojevich