Zagel Begins Hearing Objections to Jurors - NBC Chicago
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Zagel Begins Hearing Objections to Jurors



    Zagel Begins Hearing Objections to Jurors
    Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrives at the Federal Court building Thursday, June 3, 2010 in Chicago, for jury selection in his federal corruption trial. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

    The corruption trial of former governor Rod Blagojevich began with relatively few fireworks Thursday.

    Judge James Zagel questioned 29 potential jurors while the star of the show, Rod Blagojevich sat silently and watched.

    There could be a bit more bluster Friday when Zagel plans to hear objections objections attorneys might have about potential jurors questioned so far. That could lead to some being sent home.

    Jury selection has become perhaps the most important element to the trial.

    It's widely believed that Rod Blagojevich's 18-month-long media tour -- in which he appeared on any television, radio or stage show that would have him so he could proclaim his innocence -- was a tactic intent on influencing potential jurors.

    Blagojevich's defense team also made jury selection an issue in the days before the trial when the filed a motion complaining that Zagel had improperly screened some jurors who had conflicts. They asked to have the trial delayed.

    Zagel disagreed.

    Thursday he asked would-be jurors whether they could set aside any preconceived opinions and fairly assess the evidence against Blagojevich and his brother — Nashville, Tenn., businessman Robert Blagojevich. Most said they could.

    The ex-governor is charged with conspiring to sell President Barack Obama's former Senate seat and pressure people for campaign money. Both Blagojevich brothers have both pleaded not guilty.

    Full Coverage:The Trial of Rod Blagojevich