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Prosecutors front-loaded the indictment, requiring jurors to decide as they considered that racketeering charge whether Mr. Blagojevich committed more than 20 separate illegal actions, from trying to sell the Senate seat to squeezing a construction executive for campaign cash.

Many other charges, including wire fraud, rely on whether jurors have already agreed Mr. Blagojevich committed the long list of actions under racketeering. That makes Count One a kind of legal domino; if jurors convict on it, many other counts should also come in as guilty.

Asked if Thursday’s note suggests jurors are bogged down on racketeering, Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky agreed.

“Yes, it does seem to,” he said.

Mr. Blagojevich did not comment after the hearing. But asked if he felt it was good news for his client, his attorney, Sam Adam Sr., responded, “I don’t know. I’ve learned a long time ago not to guess what juries are thinking.”