Judge Orders Tribune To Turn Over Notes On Cellini Juror
CHICAGO (CBS) — A federal judge has ordered the Chicago Tribune to turn over notes and recordings in a fight over a juror who didn’t disclose her criminal record in the trial of convicted Illinois powerbroker William Cellini.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports, Cellini was convicted Nov. 1 of conspiring to extort a campaign contribution for deposed Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports
Last week, attorneys from the Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times received subpoenas from Cellini’s lawyers for all documents or recordings related to the juror in question.
U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel’s ruling didn not mention the Sun-Times.
Tribune attorneys filed a motion earlier saying subpoenas to journalists should be a last resort.
Tribune editor Gerould Kern says the newspaper is considering its options.
Cellini’s attorneys have filed a motion seeking a mistrial over the juror’s undisclosed felony convictions, but prosecutors have argued that felony convictions in Illinois do not automatically exclude someone from serving on a jury.
It’s up to the judge in each individual case in federal court as to whether the court should run background checks on potential jurors.
In most cases, background checks are not conducted, except in high-profile cases.
Zagel had background checks done on the jury pool for the first trial and retrial for Blagojevich, but in Cellini’s case, no background checks were done.
Assuming no mistrial is called, Cellini is now awaiting sentencing on two counts related to a conspiracy to squeeze the Oscar-winning producer of “Million Dollar Baby” for a campaign contribution.
Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison on corruption charges last week.
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