Blago judge: Opening statements start Tuesday

June 8, 2010 4:34:36 AM PDT
Former Ill. Governor Rod Blagojevich told reporters Monday he's eager for the evidence and the truth to come out during his corruption trial.

It's unclear whether Blagojevich intends to make a daily public statement throughout the duration of his expected four month trial, but on the third day of jury selection in the case he

"This is the place where we can finally begin to get the truth out. For the past year and a half Patty and I, the people of Illinois, we've had to live through false accusations and lies and the accusers, those that made the false accusations and those that made the lies took the truth, sealed it through court order, essentially took the truth, put it in a lockbox, locked it up and they held the key," said Blagojevich.

The ex-governor delivered -essentially- the same talking points and did not take questions. It's unlikely he'd entertain questions or perhaps even make statements once the testimony in his public corruption trial begins.

On Tuesday, more prospective jurors were quizzed by Judge James Zagel, including a social worker who says she has no opinion on the case, an insurance underwriter, and a former state of Illinois employee who said in his questionnaire that "some politicians are motivated by the public good, but they're rare. Most are motivated by ego, control, power and money." But when asked by the judge if he could be fair, juror 169 said, "yes." So he remains in the jury pool.

A former radio disc jockey and talk show host was excused, an elementary school teacher - who says the case hasn't been on her radar - remains in the running.

"In some respects we ask people to do the impossible - which is, 'Yes, I've heard all these things about Rod Blagojevich. He was my governor. I saw him on TV; I heard him on the radio. I've seen all these allegations by the government, but I can put all those aside.' We're asking folks to do a very difficult thing," said Patrick Collins, Former Asst. US Attorney.

The judge has gotten it down to 50 potential jurors. There were 90 to begin with. The process will continue Tuesday, but Judge Zagel hopes to have the jury seated Tuesday morning. Before adjourning Monday afternoon, Judge Zagel told attorneys to be ready to make their final challenges about potential jurors first thing Tuesday morning. He says opening statements are likely to start immediately after a jury is seated.

Zagel says he'll adjourn after the opening statements and start hearing from witnesses on Wednesday.


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