Adams file motions to leave Blago defense

September 30, 2010 (CHICAGO)

It is not much of a surprise to anyone who has followed the case. On the night of the Blagojevich verdict last month, the I-Team reported that the Sam Adams - father and son - would not return for the retrial.

When the Adams' motion to step aside plays out in federal court Friday, Blagojevich will be facing a trial three months away and no heavy hitters in the on-deck circle.

The Adams were the first to be thanked by the former governor when his trial ended. The 14 lawyers and 7 paralegals led by the Sam Adams, who succeeded in hanging the jury on 23 of 24 counts.

Even then, on August 17th, the ex-governor's showcase lawyers were grilled about whether they intended to return for the retrial.

"I don't know - and this is why I don't know - why should the people of Illinois and the taxpayers in this county pay me?" said Adam, Jr. "Why should the people of Illinois pay a criminal defense lawyer when we've already been through trial?"

On Friday, U.S. District Judge James Zagel will hear a motion by the Adam team to withdraw as Blagojevich trial counsel.

The motion cites Zagel's decision to appoint only two paid lawyers and one paralegal to represent the former governor, who is broke and cannot afford to pay defense attorneys himself, so the taxpayers will be footing the bill.

A Blagojevich spokesman Friday said simply: "financial realities make it impossible for the Adams to continue as lead attorneys."

After the first trial, Blagojevich said "the government threw everything but the kitchen sink" at him. In the upcoming second trial, scheduled for January, prosecutors may throw the sink as well after retooling the case against Blagojevich, who narrowly avoided conviction on most of the major counts, according to jurors.

It has been more than six weeks since the trial ended, and in that time Blagojevich has been unable to find any new, high-powered attorneys to represent him. According to several veteran defense lawyers, including one who turned down Blagojevich, there just isn't anyone left for him to go to.

Another Blagojevich attorney, Michael Gillespie, also plans to leave the case.

Unless a legal angel drops from the heavens, Blagojevich will be represented by his old family friend Sheldon Sorosky, who represented him the day he was arrested, and the much younger Aaron Goldstein.

In Thursday's court filing, Adam, Jr. and Adam, Sr. pledged to continue advising Blagojevich and to assist with trial strategy, and that both attorneys will remain steadfast in advocating the former governor's innocence.

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