Blago retrial could go to jury today

June 9, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Prosecutors wrapped up their closing arguments around noon on Thursday. The defense then began its closing arguments. After the defense wrapped up around 3:30 p.m., Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schair said Blagojevich's team had presented a "desperate argument, a wrong argument."

The government has been telling jurors the former governor lied to them during his testimony.

Prosecutors told jurors that their decision comes down to the question, "Is he (Blagojevich) trying to exchange the official act for the personal benefit?" They also noted that Blagojevich's former chief of staff John Harris pleaded guilty to trying to help the former governor trade the Senate seat for a "personal benefit."

Blagojevich faces 20 counts, including charges that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.

Blagojevich has denied any intention of bribery.

As prosecutor US Attorney Carrie Hamilton recapped for the jury the various charges against Blagojevich, she asserted that the crime is the corruption itself. "The people are entitled to honest government," she said.

Defense attorney Aaron Goldstein started his closing Thursday. "He talked and he talked and he talked and that's all he did," said Goldstein. "The man didn't intend to do anything they're saying."

The defense used a theme that Blagojevich just likes to talk and he ended up with nothing. Goldstein said the "law is about intent." He said the prosecution hasn't met its burden of proof. His tone struck a more sarcastic tone compared to Hamilton's more school-teacher-like approach.

When the defense resumed its closing arguments after lunch, the defense attempted to discredit those government witnesses who have testified against Blagojevich and made plea deals with the state. "Always be cynical that this man is fighting for his freedom," said Goldstein.

There is a possibility jurors could get the case before the day is over.

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