Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Blagojevich jury hints at deadlock, asks Judge for help if they can't agree 'on any given count'
CHICAGO (AP) -- Jurors in the corruption trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich have sent a note to the judge suggesting they may be deadlocked on some counts.
The note read in court on Wednesday says the jury is asking for guidance if they can't reach a unanimous decision on ''any given count.'' They say they've made ''a reasonable attempt'' and did so without rancor.
Judge James B. Zagel says he'll send back a note asking the jury to clarify which counts they're undecided on.
Jurors are in their 11th day of trying to reach a verdict. Since they began deliberations, they've sent two previous notes to the judge.
Blagojevich, 53, has pleaded not guilty to 24 counts, including charges of trying to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat for a Cabinet post, private job or campaign cash. If convicted, he could face up to $6 million in fines and a sentence of 415 years in prison, though he is sure to get much less time under federal guidelines.
His brother, Nashville, Tenn., businessman Robert Blagojevich, 54, has also pleaded not guilty to taking part in that alleged scheme.
At the trial, prosecutors relied heavily on wiretap tapes in which Blagojevich spewed profanity and speculated about getting a Cabinet job in exchange for the Senate seat. Defense attorneys argued that Blagojevich was a big talker, but never committed a crime.
Not much is known about the jurors, because Zagel prohibited the release of their names until after the verdict. There is a math teacher, a retired public health official, a former Marine injured serving in the Middle East, a Navy veteran, an avid marathon runner and a man born in a U.S. internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II.