Blagojevich trial, Update, April 20, 2010
From the Chicago Tribune, April 19, 2010
“Feds say Blagojevich lawyers should not tell jury about chief fundraiser’s suicide”
“Prosecutors in Chicago are urging a federal judge to bar former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers from telling the jury at his corruption trial about his chief fundraiser’s suicide.
In court papers Monday, prosecutors say Blagojevich and his attorneys have made remarks suggesting they might bring up fundraiser Christopher Kelly’s suicide at the trial.
The south suburban contractor headed Blagojevich’s campaign committee and was found dead of an apparent overdose last September. He had been a defendant in three different corruption cases and was set to enter prison within days.”
“Prosecution seeks to limit defense arguments in upcoming Blagojevich trial”
“But the government maintains it is simply trying to keep issues irrelevant to the criminal charges from jurors.
On that same note, prosecutors said the defense shouldn’t be allowed to raise Blagojevich’s impeachment or any positive actions he took as governor.
Blagojevich has long called for all the undercover tapes to be played, not just the ones preferred by prosecutors, saying he is confident he would be vindicated if the entire record was heard.
But prosecutors said it would improper for Blagojevich’s attorney to make reference to this, since it involves legal rulings by the judge that should be off-limits for the jury.
“Comments by counsel or witnesses along the lines, ‘If it was up to us, we would play all the tapes,’ are improper,” the government said in its filing.
Zagel already has said in court that Blagojevich could be able to play some of the tapes he wants if they corroborate his testimony. The former governor has promised to testify at the trial slated to begin June 3.
Also Monday, prosecutors objected to a request by Blagojevich’s brother, Robert, for a separate trial. The brother ran Rod Blagojevich’s campaign fund for part of 2008 and allegedly participated in only a small percentage of the charged misconduct, according to his lawyer, Michael Ettinger.”