Tales from the Trail

Blagojevich trial to begin in June

March 17, 2010

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s trial will begin in June, which gives fellow Democrats reason to squirm before the mid-term elections. BLAGOJEVICH/

The judge in Blagojevich’s corruption case turned down the defense’s request to delay the trial to November, which would have been after the November 2 election.

“I think there has been adequate time” to prepare, Judge James Zagel of the U.S. District Court in Chicago said.

Defense lawyers had argued a pending Supreme Court ruling on the “honest services” law, expected in June, would have a bearing on trial strategy. They also complained of having to review a mountain of evidence.

“The evidence is going to be the same no matter what the law is,” Zagel said, in turning aside the defense motion that he labelled a “red herring.”

Prosecutors said the case is about bribery, extortion and other malfeasance by Blagojevich, without suggesting who else might be implicated.

Defense lawyers have said they might try to call White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and other administration figures to show Blagojevich was not leveraging his power to fill President Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat.

Photo Credit: Reuters/Jeff Haynes (Blagojevich in December 2008)

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