First Note From Blagojevich Jury, But Still No Verdict
Updated 06/14/11 – 6:00 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Jurors in the corruption retrial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich wrapped up their third day of deliberations on Tuesday without reaching a verdict, but they did send their first note to the judge.
Tuesday afternoon, the jurors noticed that not all of them had the same number of pages for their transcripts of one of the recorded phone calls presented as evidence during the trial. CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports.
Some jurors had five pages in their transcript binder for the phone call, while others had nine pages. The jurors agreed not to read past the fifth page of the transcript until they found out from the judge how many pages they were supposed to have.
The jurors were only supposed to have five pages for that transcript, so U.S. District Judge James Zagel said that courtroom security officers would go into the jury room to remove the extra pages from the binders that had longer transcripts.
It was the first communication from the jury since they begun deliberating on Friday.
The call in question appeared rather inconsequential to the charges against Blagojevich and Zagel called the jurors’ note “technical and insignificant.”
The jury adjourned for the day around 4 p.m., less than half an hour after Zagel discussed their note with prosecutors and defense attorneys.
The call involved in the transcript was a Nov. 14, 2008, phone call between Blagojevich and his brother, Robert Blagojevich, who was running the governor’s campaign fund at the time.
In the call, Robert Blagojevich informs his brother that fundraiser Raghu Nayak has faxed him information from various Indian-American groups, endorsing Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. for an appointment to the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.
But Rod told his brother on the phone call that he Robert should tell Nayak that he didn’t pass the information on to Rod.
“Let him wonder if I saw it or not. Why should I like, a-, assume that I did and now I’m, you know rejecting them. You know what I’m saying?” Rod says in the call.
There is no mention of Nayak’s offer a couple weeks before that to raise up to $1.5 million for Blagojevich’s campaign fund in exchange for appointing Jackson to the Senate seat.
Prosecutors have contended that Blagojevich later planned to send his brother to make a deal with Nayak to get the $1.5 million in campaign cash in exchange for Jackson getting the Senate seat.
The phone call is just one of dozens that jurors are debating as the panel of 11 women and one man weigh 20 corruption charges against Blagojevich, including allegations that he was trying to sell or trade the Senate seat appointment for personal benefits.
At Blagojevich’s first trial, jurors deliberated for 14 days before reaching a verdict on only one count — a conviction for lying to the FBI. They deadlocked on 23 other counts.
–Todd Feurer, CBS 2 Web Producer