Blago jury selection continues

July 21, 2010 8:23:46 AM PDT
Former governor Rod Blagojevich returned to court Friday for day 2 of jury selection in his corruption trial. Attorneys started challenging potential jurors Friday morning. Blagojevich told reporters he now believes he can get a fair trial. He praised the judge Friday morning before going into court.

"I thought yesterday was a good beginning," Blagojevich said. "I want to express my extreme respect for Judge Zagel. I was extremely, profoundly impressed by the judge's deliberate approach to the jury selection. The questions that he asked of prospective jurors, his explanation to the prospective jurors and their responsibility, your fundamental the right of trial by jury is to a democracy."

As is practice for the former governor in this building, he made a statement but took no questions.

A wide array of potential jurors were questioned - from a marine injured in Beirut, a security officer at O'Hare, a retired Navy commander, to a part-time nurse whose husband calls her a professional volunteer. Ultimately the judge and lawyers must decide who can fairly judge the evidence, and who might have hidden bias.

"As a defense lawyer I would want blue collar. I think blue collar people are going to identify more with the governor," said Prof. Richard Kling, Kent College Of Law.

The lawyers rejected nine potential jurors who were quizzed Thursday. One of them proclaimed religious conviction so strong that she felt she could not judge. And yet another juror who said He already believes Rod Blagojevich to be guilty is still in the jury pool.

The governor's older brother Robert who is also on trial says he's optimistic he'll be vindicated. The ex-governor says the same as he shakes hands and greets people very much like a political campaign.

"I think the mistake he's making is he's treating this like a political campaign, and it's not. I can ell you these are different animals," said Beth Foley, trial consultant.

Mrs. Blagojevich was very upset because one of her daughters has a graduation from grade school on Tuesday and the hope was they could move opening statements back. That will not happen if all the jury selection is complete on Monday.


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