Gov't plans to re-indict Blagojevich by February

July 21, 2010 9:23:33 AM PDT
Prosecutors told Federal Judge James Zagel on Wednesday they plan to re-indict ousted former Governor Rod Blagojevich by late January or early February. During a court hearing Wednesday, federal prosecutors said they are revising their case against Blagojevich before the U.S. Supreme Court makes a ruling on the honest services law.

Most of the government's current case against the ex-governor relies on a law used to prosecute politicians who have defrauded voters.

Legal experts believe the U.S. Supreme court may severely limit the law or possibly knock it down. So, federal prosecutors want to be prepared with an amended case against Blagojevich, so not to delay Blagojevich's June trial. That was just one of the issues addressed in Wednesday's federal court hearing.

Attorneys for former Governor Blagojevich asked U.S. District Judge James Zagel to see details of last year's FBI interviews with then President-elect Barack Obama, White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and labor leaders Thomas Balanoff and Andy Stern.

"We're asking for them early, I don't believe we're asking for anything that eventually we would not receive from the government and the only reason we're asking for this material is so that we can be ready for trial in June," said Sheldon Sorosky, Blagojevich's attorney.

One of the charges against Blagojevich is that he tried to sell Obama's former U.S. Senate seat. His lawyers want to get an early look at the FBI interviews with Obama and the others to see if there is a need to call the president to testify.

"A defendant is entitled to any police interview of any prosecution witnesses," said Sorosky.

Defense attorney Sam Adam, Jr. said once they look at the evidence there may not be any reason to call Obama to the stand, but admitted it would be an amazing experience.

"Professionally, I can't think of a more astounding moment in a person's career," said Adam, Jr.

On another issue, Judge Zagel warned federal prosecutors and Blagojevich's attorneys about the colorful language both sides have used in communicating with each other.

"The government and the defense lawyers have exchanged oral comment and letters as to what may be proper and improper for lawyers to say at these press conferences," said Sorosky.

"His honor made a comment about purple language, anyone who knows the author of the letter, being my father, can pretty much guess the type of colorful language that very well may have been in there," said Adam, Jr.

The next court date is January 27th. Judge Zagel is expected to rule on whether defense attorneys will receive the details of those FBI interviews.

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