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Tag: Chicago

Chicago Jurors Still Going at it in Ex-Gov. Blagojevich Case

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Can you say Day 11?

Well, Wednesday marks the 11th day jurors will deliberate in the federal public corruption case against the over-chatty ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich in downtown Chicago.

The Associated Press reports that U.S. District Judge James Zagel told attorneys on Tuesday that he’s heard nothing from the jurors as of late.

The last note jurors sent to the judge was July 30. If we could only stick a camera in the jury room we’d have a pretty good reality TV show.

Blago Jury Enters 9th Day of Deliberations

Rod Blagojevich/facebook photo

Rod Blagojevich/facebook photo

UPDATE: Tues, 10:55 p.m. — Jurors begin the 10th day of deliberations.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Let the nail biting continue.

Jurors in the public corruption trial of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich begin deliberating Monday for the ninth day in U.S. District Court in downtown Chicago.

Good chance a verdict will come by week’s end — or least the public will get a good indication where the jury stands.

Jurors have had to sift through a weighty 24-count indictment which includes allegations that the ex-governor tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama. Blago’s brother Robert faces four counts.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Disturbing Trend Continues: Another Suspected Homegrown Terrorist Arrested

terrorismBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Homegrown terrorists just keep popping up.

The FBI on Tuesday night arrested a 26-year-old Chicago man, Shaker Masri, an American citizen, who allegedly had plans to travel to Somalia to fight with a terrorist group linked to al Qaeda and become a suicide bomber, authorities said.

Masri, who lived in the Streeterville area of Chicago, was arrested in Countryside, Ill., by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force following an 18-month probe, authorities said.

He was charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization and attempting to provide material support through the use of a weapon of mass destruction, authorities said.

Authorities said Masri expressed violent views to a friend about being part of a “jihad” and joining the terrorist group al Shabaab, which has been linked to al Qaeda. He was held without bond pending his next court appearance on Monday.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Judgment Day For Ex-Illinois Gov Blago

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s judgment day for ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Federal jurors in his public corruption case are expected to get jury instructions on Wednesday and then begin deliberating. Deliberations are likely to take several days and go into next week.

In closing arguments, his attorney Sam Adam Jr. portrayed the ex-governor as a victim with “absolutely horrible judgement in people” who was misled by top advisers and was the target of scalp-hunting FBI agents, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Prosecutors painted him as a seasoned lawyer who refused to take responsibility for his actions as if he was “somehow the accidentally corrupt governor,” the Tribune reported.

“We are all responsible for our own actions,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said in closings, according to the Tribune.

Blago’s attorney Adams said: “I’m not trying to belittle this — much. But these are the feds, and this is what they bring you? Come on!”

Judge Threatens to Hold Blago’s Attorney in Contempt

Sam Adam Jr./ law firm photo

Sam Adam Jr./ law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Closing arguments in the public corruption trial of Ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich were supposed to finish up on Monday, but those plans were derailed when Blago’s attorney got into a big tiff with the judge, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The judge threatened to hold Blago’s attorney Sam Adam Jr in contempt if he said certain things during closing arguments. And Adam vowed to go to jail if necessary. The closing arguments were delayed.

Just another day in the Blago trial in downtown Chicago.

The tiff started just before Adam was to deliver his closing arguments. U.S. District Judge James Zagel told Adam — outside the presence of the jury — that he could not say that the prosecution mentioned 35 people in the case, including Tony Rezko, and never called them as witnesses.

“You cannot draw an evidentiary inference from the fact a witness was not called by the other side when you had an equal right to call them,” Zagel told Adam, according to the Sun-Times.

Adam argued with the judge, who said: “You will follow this order, because if you don’t you will be in contempt of court.”

“With all due deference to the court, I have a man here who’s arguing for his life. . . . I can’t effectively represent this man. . . . I can’t follow this order,” Adam told Zagel, according to the Sun-Times. “I’m willing to go to jail on this.”

After court, Sam Adam Jr. said he would go to jail “in a heartbeat” if that’s what it takes, the Sun-Times reported.

Arguments are scheduled to resume Tuesday.

To read more click here.

UPDATE: 12:55 PM Tuesday: Defense Attorney Sam Adam Jr. began delivering his closing argument without incident, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. To read more click here.

Chicago FBI’s Robert Grant Offended by Mayor Daley’s Comments

FBI's Robert Grant/fbi photo

FBI's Robert Grant/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The head of the FBI in Chicago and city’s Mayor Richard Daley got into a little tiff this past week.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Robert Grant, head of the Chicago FBI, shot back at the mayor who suggested the agency wasn’t doing enough to combat gun violence in the Windy City.

“My task force, which are FBI and Chicago Police officers side by side, are very demoralized to read those comments after all the hard work they put in,” Grant told WFLD-Channel 32 news, according to the Sun-Times.

Mayor Daley

Mayor Daley

His remarks were in response to Daley’s comments on Thursday after a joint FBI-Chicago Police bust resulted in 25 arrests, the paper reported.

“Well, finally. Thank God, they did it. Where have they been?” Daley said at the time, according to the paper. “The Chicago Police round ’em up every day, every week and every month. You give ’em no publicity for that. And they solve crimes in the community. We don’t wait for the feds.”

Grant shot back that the FBI has been busting folks for guns “for a long time. If he ever wanted to know the stats and see how much we have done … and see what actually goes on in the city in terms of sharing data and prioritizing, he might learn something.”

Then came the back peddling.

Daley’s press office apologized, the Sun-Times reported, saying the mayor “responded emotionally because three Chicago Police officers have been killed in two months. Mayor Daley did not mean to demoralize FBI agents and he looks forward to working with them again to clean up the city’s streets.”

It’s Show Time! Blagojevich Expected to Take Stand This Week in Fed Corruption Trial

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Blago Defense Complains Prosecutors Finishing Case Too Soon: “A Fair Trial is Destroyed”

Blagojevich family/facebook

Blagojevich family/facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sometimes judges complain to federal prosecutors that their case is dragging on too long. But in Chicago, in U.S. District Court, there’s a bit of different twist.

The defense for ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich is complaining that prosecutors are moving far too quickly in trial and will finish presenting their case this week, far ahead of schedule.

The defense is now scrambling, trying to get a hold of witnesses they thought they wouldn’t need until August, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

“A fair trial is destroyed,” Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam Sr. told reporters outside the courtroom Monday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “We told our witnesses we’d be in touch late August. All of a sudden, the government cuts their case short . . . They misled us. They misled the court.”

To read more click here.