Former Attorney Doesn’t Expect Conviction For Blagojevich
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UPDATED 06/16/11 4:03 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – As jurors enter their fifth day of deliberations in the retrial of deposed Gov. Rod Blagojevich, his former attorney Sam Adam Jr. says he expects an acquittal or a hung jury.
Adam and his father, Sam Adam Sr., represented Blagojevich in his first trial last year. That trial ended with Blagojevich being convicted of just one count of lying to the FBI, while the jury deadlocked on 23 other counts.
But unlike last time around, this time, Blagojevich took the stand in his own defense for several days. Adam said Blagojevich’s testimony should benefit him.
“I think with a man like Rod, where he spent his entire life talking to people and selling his position – selling the things that he knew to be true – I think it was wonderful. I got to see a little bit of it; I thought he did an excellent job,” Adam said, speaking on the CBS 2 Morning News Thursday.
While on the stand, Blagojevich insisted that he never tried to trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat for campaign cash. Among other claims, he said fundraisers for U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) offered campaign cash for a Senate seat, but he rejected the offer because it was “a violation of campaign fundraising laws.”
He also said his remark captured in wiretaps in which he said the vacant Senate seat was “f***ing golden” simply meant he had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to appoint a U.S. Senator and he wanted to make sure he weighed all options before making a pick.
In the first trial, while Blagojevich did not testify, Adam delivered a dramatic closing argument in which he openly blamed prosecutors for failing to prove their case.
“Who knew that they were going to prove to every single one of you that Rod did not take a dime, like I told you? Not one single dime?” Adam said in his closing argument in July of last year. “I didn’t come here to lie to you. … If you honestly think I did … blame me. I’m a man, blame me.”
This time, the defense was far less dramatic, but Adam said it would illustrate the same point.
“If you stick right to the facts the second time, like they had done, everybody is going to see that this is not a corrupt individual; that this is not a corrupt governor,” he said.
Adam said he has spoken regularly to some of the defense attorneys, while his father talks to Blagojevich himself three or four times a day. He said a new and different direction for the defense this time around was the best move.
“They wanted and I wanted, a totally different defense this time, because that’s what was best for Rod, and I think they’ve done a marvelous job,” he said.
Adam said he tentatively expects a verdict to come in later Thursday or on Monday, and he does not think it will be a guilty verdict.
“I think it’s going to be either 20 not guilties or hung on some counts, not guilty on others,” he said. “I don’t see a guilty.”
As for the Blagojevich jury deliberations, attorneys for both sides were called into court midday Thursday when the jury had a question about clarifying instructions on wire fraud charges.
The jury went home a few hours later and will return on Monday for more deliberations.