Blagojevich trial two begins, Jury Selection, April 20, 2011, Jury questionnaires, Obama Justice Dept.
“Why did the Illinois Senate Health & Human Services Committee, with Obama as chairman, create and push Bill 1332, “Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act,” early in 2003, which reduced the number of members on the Board from 15 to 9, just prior to rigging by Tony Rezko and Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells
“I believe I’m more pristine on Rezko than him.”…Rod Blagojevich
From the Chicago Tribune.
“Rod Blagojevich’s second corruption trial is set to get under way with nearly all the same evidence as the first trial, just packaged and presented in a whole new way.
Would-be jurors were expected to begin filling out questionnaires Wednesday meant to help weed out anyone with strong biases for or against the ousted Illinois governor.
Since Blagojevich’s first trial last year that ended with jurors deadlocked on all but one count, federal prosecutors have honed and simplified their case, dropping complex racketeering charges to address complaints by the previous jury that the evidence was too hard to follow.
For his part, Blagojevich, now 54, is returning with a scaled-down, more bookish defense team that no longer includes lead lawyer Sam Adam Jr., whose courtroom theatrics in round one often drew the judge’s ire. And this time, Blagojevich will be the lone defendant after authorities dropped all charges against his brother.”
“The former contestant on TV’s “Celebrity Apprentice” faces 20 charges, including that he sought to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat.
Already, he could get up to five years in prison for the lying conviction at the first trial. And the stakes are as high as ever this time: A conviction on just one offense could mean a decade or more behind bars.”
“In pretrial preparations, prosecutors have been working to simplify everything.
The dropped racketeering charges, which have stupefying legal points and subpoints. They also dismissed all charges against Blagojevich’s brother and co-defendant, Robert Blagojevich, allowing them to focus entirely on the former governor.
They even sought to edit out what they consider irrelevant chit-chat on hours of FBI wiretap recordings, evidence at the heart of the government case, including a reference in one conversation to Blagojevich’s famously bountiful locks.
“They’ve been like a ship tossing excess baggage over board to get through a storm,” said David Morrison of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
With the prosecution pursuing a condensed case, many experts say it would behoove the defense to call at least a few witnesses — in contrast to the first trial, when they chose not to put on a case.
Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor, said he would normally adhere to conventional wisdom that it’s almost always a bad idea to expose a defendant to blistering cross-examination. But he said the defense may want to consider putting Blagojevich on the stand.”
Counts 1,2,4 were dropped several months ago. Those counts had the strongest ties to Obama. Anyone surprised by that or not calling Tony Rezko in the first trial since Obama’s pal Eric Holder controls the Justice Dept.