How long will Blagojevich jury deliberations last?

June 23, 2011 3:26:01 PM PDT
Jurors in the corruption trial of former governor Rod Blagojevich wrapped up their ninth day of deliberations- and there's no indication of how close they are -- or aren't -- to a verdict.

Jurors adjourned around 4 p.m. Thursday and, in keeping with their regular schedule, will not return to their duties until Monday.

Blagojevich, 54, faces 20 counts stemming from allegations that he squeezed business execs for campaign donations and tried to sell or trade a U.S. Senate seat. Blagojevich denies any wrongdoing.

In the Blagojevich trial, there's a lot of evidence to sort through -- and there's a lot at stake. For the most part, juries take their mission seriously and want to be as thorough as possible- so deliberations in high-profile cases are often lengthy.

After nine days, what are the 11 women and one man doing during their deliberations behind closed doors?

"Presuming, they're done going through the tapes and talking about the witnesses. I don't think you need nine days to do that. The debate would probably be, do you believe the defendant, and if reasonable minds can differ as to whether you believe him for don't believe him, we might still be a few days away from anything," Jeff Cramer, former assistant U.S. attorney, Kross Investigations, said.

That's not unusual given the volume of evidence and testimony in the Blagojevich case, experts say. The case of Tony Rezko -- a former Blagojevich buddy, fundraiser, and insider -- was complicated. The jury deliberated for 12 days in the 2008 trial before convicting Rezko on 16 of 24 counts.

The Rezko jury consisted of 10 women and two men. Jury experts say that women are no less inclined to convict than men, but they may arrive at their verdicts in different fashion.

Veteran trial consultant Beth Foley says that women may spend more time examining the "whys" of a case, which goes to intent: the key to the government's case. It may mean, Foley said, that "intent" in this case "is becoming more gray than black and white."

Foley also suggests a largely female jury may be more given to compromise. "I don't think a hung jury is considered an acceptable result for the 11 women. So maybe they are compromising on the counts."

"In my experience, I don't know if predominantly woman jurors have taken longer. I think it's a function of his testimony and, for whatever reason, he was able to convince some of the jurors to have a moment of pause ? to think about whether he was telling the truth even though his words were what they were on tape, clearly he hoped that would resonate with women," Cramer said.

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