Blagojevich Judge Denies Jury Pool Meddling

Billy Joel Petco Park-9128
John Hancock

The Judge in the Rod Blagojevich corruption case turned aside defense objections to his methods of picking a jury today, basically telling the former governor's lawyers that they had misinterpreted the law.

Lawyers blasted the judge in a motion this week, calling improper his efforts to weed out potential jury candidates who may not be able to serve during a trial which will last at least four months.  They asked him to begin the process anew, allowing them to be present for the examination of all jurors.

But Zagel said he had not examined anyone, that he had merely reviewed their paperwork, weeding out those who had obvious issues such as child care or employment. 

Zagel said he had created what he called a "maybe" pile, of candidates who might still be called.  Previously he said he had determined at least 90 potential jurors who he intended to call in for the formal selection process.

The judge has made the application paperwork available for lawyers to examine, and he told the Blagojevich attorneys that if they raised individual names of people they wanted called in, he would consider them.

The Blagojevich trial is scheduled to begin, with formal jury selection, next Thursday.

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