Blagojevich trial, Update, April 22, 2010, Judge James Zagel criticizes Blagojevich
From The Christian Science Monitor
“Judge in Rod Blagojevich case takes the former governor to task”
“Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich tried to use a hearing in federal court Wednesday to confront his nemesis in his pending June trial: US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
Mr. Blagojevich had angrily described the federal prosecutor as a “liar” late Tuesday, challenging him through local television cameras to “be man enough to be in court” the next day.
Mr. Fitzgerald did not show. But US District Judge James Zagel told Blagojevich and his lawyers that he was unhappy with the combative nature of the defense. His courtroom would not “permit the legal equivalent of head butts,” he said.
“Those rules are enforced by the referee, not by the boxers. I am that referee – no one else,” Judge Zagel said.”
“Zagel criticized the former governor for repeated remarks in the media about prosecutors suppressing wiretaps that Blagojevich says, if aired, would reveal a “smoking gun” pointing at his innocence.”
“Zagel made it clear that it wasn’t up to the prosecution team regarding what would be allowed in the trial. Rather, the admittance of all evidence is under Zagel’s domain. “The only person who can admit evidence is me,” he said.
He gave Blagojevich’s legal team until May 14 to provide a list of all the tapes it wants played at the trial. But he warned that he would monitor whether the requested tapes were relevant to the case so that jurors aren’t “needlessly consumed” by evidence that has no bearing on the trial.”