Blagojevich jurors two months into trial

July 16, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The 12 jurors and five alternates in the corruption trial of former governor Rod Blagojevich can't read watch or listen to any stories about it even though since day one, they have been bombarded with information they ultimately must process together.

"They will have sat there for two months, but don't know precisely what the finish line is. They've watched a race being run, but they're not sure where the finish line is. That's hard," said Ron Safer, former assistant U.S. attorney.

"What's hard for the jury is they haven't heard the closing arguments yet so they don't know how it's all gonna wrap up. They don't yet know how all the dots are connected, so they're trying to figure out what questions will I be asked at the end, and what's the law?" said Beth Foley, trial consultant.

When jurors get the case, they'll be given jury instructions on how to apply the law. It is not an easy read. What is acting "corruptly?" What constitutes "intent?" What is a "conspiracy?" How do you define "bribery?" Jury instructions themselves may take an entire day.

Foley says there's no doubt the jurors have formed impressions of Rod Blagojevich after hearing him on the government tapes. When he testifies - as he has promised - his challenge will be to convince the jury that the real Blagojevich is on the stand - and not the tapes.

"So when he gets up to testify, he doesn't have a lot of credibility. He is not particularly trustworthy, not likable, not respectable, so whatever he tells the jury about his intentions, how believable is that?" said Foley.

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