Tag Archives: US District Judge James Zagel

Blagojevich trial, Obama testimony, Rezko trial, Rod Blagojevich did not testify, US District Judge James Zagel, Motion to subpoena Obama denied, Door still open for Obama as witness

Blagojevich trial, Obama testimony, Rezko trial, Rod Blagojevich did not testify

When Judge Zagel denied the Blagojevich defense team’s motion to subpoena Barack Obama for the Blagojevich trial, I did not think much of it. First of all it is early. Secondly, the defense motion was too general. And remember this, Rod Blagojevich did not testify at the Tony Rezko trial even though his name was mentioned often and he was under investigation.
The motion to subpoena Obama did serve a purpose. It sets the stage for witness testimony from Tony Rezko and others and certainly should make Obama squirm.
As stated, Rod Blagojevich’s name was mentioned repeatedly during the Rezko trial.
Will Obama’s name surface often at the Blagojevich trial?

Judge James Zagel did not state that Obama would not testify.
“U.S. District Judge James Zagel said the defense motion seeking to subpoena the president fell “very short” of demonstrating the need to have him testify or submit to attorney questions regarding charges that Blagojevich sought to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant when Obama was elected in 2008.

Zagel did not completely shut the door on Obama testimony, however, telling the lawyers in the case he would see how the trial unfolds and could reconsider if something specific arises that the president can address.”

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John Kass of the Chicago Tribune adds his humorous take on the judge’s ruling.
“The president might be advised to write to the judge: “Judge Zagel, you want me on that stand, you need me on that stand! Please, Judge Zagel, let me testify to show everyone I’m not a Chicago politician.”

All it takes is a few tokes of Hopium to imagine Obama, in a blue suit, maroon tie and white shirt, taking the witness stand. After ripping on Rezko for the Blagojevich side, he’d undergo cross-examination from some pesky government prosecutor.

What follows is a certified yet highly imaginary transcript of some future testimony.

Smarty Pants Lawyer: Isn’t it true, Mr. President, that in 2002, as an Illinois state senator, you told journalist Jeff Berkowitz, on tape, the following: “Right now, my main focus is to make sure we elect Rod Blagojevich as governor.”

Obama: Well, look. That’s not the Rod I knew.

Smarty Pants Lawyer: Isn’t it true, Mr. President, that in 2006, you wrote a letter to the voters of Cook County, vigorously endorsing the hapless Urkel of political Chicago, Todd Stroger, for County Board president?

Obama: Well, uh, look. At this point in time, to the best of my knowledge, I can’t recall.

Smarty Pants Lawyer: Did you not write, and I quote, “Todd is a good, progressive Democrat who will bring values and sensibility to the job”? Did you not write these words, sir?

Obama: That’s not the Todd I knew.

Smarty Pants Lawyer: And isn’t it true that in April of 2010, you publicly hugged Alexi Giannoulias and called him, and I quote, Illinois’ “soon-to-be senator”? Doesn’t that make you a real Chicago politician?

Obama: I decline to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate me.”

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Rod Blagojevich trial, Obama testify?, Blagojevich lawyer Sam Adam Jr, Obama has material information on case, US District Judge James Zagel

From the Chicago Tribune, December 17, 2009.

“State of corruption: Blagojevich lawyer hoping to get Obama to testify at trial”

“Lawyers for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Wednesday sought early access to an interview of President Barack Obama by federal investigators as the defense weighs whether to try to call Obama as a witness in Blagojevich’s trial next year.

Blagojevich’s lawyer, Sam Adam Jr., said he realizes it would be an uphill battle to get a sitting president to testify.

Obama was questioned by investigators after Blagojevich was arrested last December on charges he tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by Obama after being elected president.

The defense is also seeking reports of interviews of Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, as well as other staffers about any conversations they might have had with Blagojevich or his aides about the Senate seat.”

“U.S. District Judge James Zagel gave prosecutors until Jan. 8 to respond in writing to the defense request. The defense is also seeking all witness statements in the case earlier than the rules of evidence call for so it can be prepared for the June 3 trial.”

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