Blagojevich Defense Rests Without Presenting Witnesses
Despite speculation since the his trial started, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will not testify in his own defense, and his defense attorneys have rested their case without calling any witnesses:
Testimony in the corruption trial of ousted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is over.
A lawyer for for Blagojevich told the judge this morning that he didn’t change his mind overnight about not testifying in his own defense against corruption charges.
At 10:10 a.m., attorney Sheldon Sorosky told U.S. District Judge James Zagel: “At this time, the defendant Rod Blagojevich would rest.”
Shortly after, the prosecution rested.
Blagojevich’s lawyers said before going in to court that the former governor is expected to make a statement later today on his decision.
After the defense rested, prosecutors called an FBI agent as a rebuttal witness to testimony given by the former governor’s brother and co-defendant, Robert Blagojevich.
The judge set closing arguments for 9:30 a.m. Monday.
Blagojevich had long insisted he wanted to testify and would testify. Then word came Tuesday that he would not.
In court this morning, the scene was anticlimactic.
The judge first asked if Robert Blagojevich had any other evidence to offer. He didn’t.
In those seconds, Rod Blagojevich sat at the defense table, looking down, neatly organizing pens in front of his notebook.
Zagel then gestured to Sorosky, who stood and made it official that the former governor would present no witnesses in his own defense.
The jurors all looked at the defendants’ table. One juror’s eyes widened upon hearing the news. The others largely looked without expression.
This is what you can only call some ballsy litigating. Essentially Blago and his lawyers are rolling the dice on the idea that the government has not sufficiently proven their case, how that works out for them will be interesting to watch.