CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors aren’t alone in wanting a retrial after the jury deadlocked on all but one count at former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial.
Some jurors also want to see the impeached Democratic governor back in court and have expressed frustration that the panel of six women and six men could not agree on additional counts, including allegations that he tried to sell President Obama’s old senate seat.
“I’m glad there is going to be (a retrial),” juror Cynthia Parker, 60, said outside her home in the Chicago suburb of Gurnee. “I don’t feel it’s finished.”
The retrial promises to be as circuslike and nearly as expensive as the first trial. In a state with a huge budget deficit, some people would prefer not to see it at all.
But the next round could look different if prosecutors adjust their strategy after listening to the jurors who deadlocked. And despite their defiance after the verdict, defense attorneys could offer a few surprises, too — if they are still on the job.
Could prosecutors decide to call witnesses such as White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel? Could the defense finally put Blagojevich on the stand?
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said the prosecution is nearly ready to start jury selection, and the presiding judge set a hearing on the matter for Aug. 26.
Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam Jr. blasted Mr. Fitzgerald for insisting on a second trial, questioning the expense. His father, Sam Adam Sr., called Mr. Fitzgerald “nuts.”
“I wish this entire group would go upstairs and ask Fitzgerald one question: I understand he’s got an important job, but why are we spending 25 to 30 million dollars on a retrial? You couldn’t prove it the first time,” said Sam Adam Jr., who did not explain how he arrived at that figure.
But it’s unknown whether either of the two flamboyant lawyers will still represent Blagojevich in a second trial.
According to Mr. Sorosky, all of Blagojevich’s attorneys who went through the just-ended trial want to stay with him. But money, as well as various legal requirements, may determine whether that happens.
So Blagojevich’s attorneys may have to be paid as public defenders using tax dollars — at a rate of about $100 an hour, Mr. Sorosky said. That may lead the judge to try to cut Blagojevich’s legal team from more than half a dozen lawyers to just two or three.