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Blago Jury Deadlocked

The jury in the trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is telling the Judge it can’t come to a verdict:

They are deadlocked — but only they know how seriously.

On their 11th day of talks, a federal jury deliberating in former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial indicated Wednesday they could not reach a unanimous verdict on all the counts, and according to one attorney, told the judge they could not deliberate any further on at least some of the charges.

“In a situation where jurors can’t agree on given counts, what should the next logical step be?” jurors in Rod Blagojevich’s case asked in a note, only part of which which was read in court. “We’ve gone beyond reasonable attempts without rancor. We now ask for guidance.”

U.S. District Judge James Zagel sent back a note asking for clarification on where jurors are in deliberations and told them they could return a partial verdict on the counts on which they agree.

Rod Blagojevich faces 24 counts of racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and other crimes, and his brother, Robert, faces four of extortion conspiracy and other charges. Six men and six women, including three military veterans, make up the jury.

“It is also permissible for a jury to return a unanimous verdict on some counts and an inability to return a unanimous verdict on other counts,” Zagel said.

Lawyers will meet at 11 a.m. today to discuss the jury’s response and to decide the next step.

Zagel could order the jury to continue trying to reach consensus, take a partial verdict or declare a mistrial.

Zagel seemed to hint he was unlikely to push jurors much further into deliberations.

Could Blago walk on this, or at least walk to live another day ? It’s looking more and more possible.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. PD Shaw says:

    Initial reporting was that the jury was deadlocked on all counts.  The more recent coverage is that the jurors are only divided on counts “involving a specific act.”  Much speculation ensued…

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  2. Yea, it’s hard to figure out what’s going on here. Apparently, they’ll all be back in Court at 11 CDT today

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  3. PD Shaw says:

    Jury has decided on two counts, hasn’t deliberated on 11 counts of wire fraud, and says they’re hung on the rest (by my count another 11 counts).

    Earlier this week Jury asked if it could have Friday off.  I think these charges and the instructions sound like a b**ch, and the jury would like to call it quits.  Judge doesn’t sound like he’s prepared to push the Jury hard, but they’re certainly not done.

    I’m beginning to entertain the possibility of no convictions, followed by a Democratic route in Illinois in the Fall.

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  4. Yea it’s really weird that the jury’s been out for ten days and they’ve only deliberated on two of 24 counts so far. I’m thinking they’re deadlocked on the whole question of whether Blago is guilty regardless of the specifics of the charges.

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  5. PD Shaw says:

    The first count (racketeering) contained more than 20 seperate illegal acts which the jury had to decide whether Blago committed.  It’s probable that the jury was exhausted by the end of Count I, and also began to see a recurring pattern of disputes.

    The trial was supposed to have three co-defendants, but Republican powerbroker William Cellini was ill and had his trial severed and delayed until around November.  If Blago’s jury is hung, I expect Cellini and he will be together again.

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