1. The government does have the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. As an attorney, and also having served on a jury, a defendant testifying can be even more damaging than his silence, because it can swing the pendulum from just this side of reasonable doubt to guilty as sin. Most jurors understand the 5th amendment right against self-incriminations; it is hammered in constantly, here even by the prosecution; it is also hammered in who has the burden of proof, and jurors generally understand that too.

    Blagojevich wisely chose to keep his mouth shut. At this point he may or may not be convicted. I think if he testified, he would be convicted for sure.

  2. Well since it is Chicago, and Emanual and Obummer are involved; the last thing they want is for either one of them to answer anything under oath. Obummer has gone this long without answering ANY questions; why start now?

  3. I am not an attorney but if I were on the jury in this case I would throw Blagojevich under the nearest tracked vehicle. His defense seems to be that “everyone does it” and “everyone knew”. Perhaps so, but the the most distal sucker on the tentacle is still a part of the monster. We can only hope that the rest of the participants are also brought to justice.

  4. Blagojevich is MUCH better off not testifying!!!
    If he took the stand, he could be questioned about almost any “prior bad acts” he allegedly ever did!!
    By choosing not to testify, he avoids the jury hearing about all sorts of “prior bad acts” he undoubtably did before becoming governor!!
    Any prosecutor, criminal defense lawyer, or law prof specializing in criminal law will tell you that almost never is a defendant better off taking the stand to “explain” things!

  5. To be honest, Mas, I’ve got enough of my own issues here in New York State like micro-stamping firing pins that keeps trying to come back on the state agenda. It recently was rejected by 2 votes and they are trying again!

    Back to “Blog”…. He’s got a chance to skate or get a hung jury. My money is on a hung jury.

  6. I’m surprised you didn’t cite attorney Gerry Spence’s decition to rest along with the prosecution in the trial of Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris. That’s probably the most well known case of “defense strategy of no defense”. And it worked.

  7. I’m surprised that they didn’t mount a defense, but under no circumstances, were I his lawyer, would I allow Blago to take the stand himself.

  8. He’s better off not testifying.

    He’ll still be convicted.

    He’ll do time in prison.

    The audio tapes will cook him.

  9. Blago may not be as stupid as he acts. The government will get him or the mob will.

  10. When you got a defendant with a “troubled” past you don’t want jurors hearing about, he HAS to avoid testifying!
    If he takes stand to “explain” things, prosecutor surely can and will bring up everything he ever did wrong – particularly if it’s documented – and Blagojevich has PLENTY to not want jurors hearing.

  11. Isn’t it true that an attorney is not supposed to allow a client to testify if he knows the client intends to commit perjury? I’m not a lawyer, and I’ve only heard this on TV shows, so I might be wrong. Any lawyers out there that can confirm or refute this?

  12. One of the scenarios being floated here is that orders from Washington were : Keep your mouth shut and if convicted you can expect a Presidential pardon.
    In Illinois you have to understand that the Reds and Blues are one and the same. If convicted Blago will be the 5th Guv to go to jail.
    My money is on a hung jury.
    Something that has piqued my lighter side: Does Blago wear a hair net at night?
    Say Mas, I have read your article on Dillinger and his gang. What do you think of the movie Public Enemies? I assume you have seen it.

  13. “My money is on a hung jury.”

    Don’t bet on that.
    With half the last eight governors of that state having gone to prison for corruption, it’s obvious that a governor of Illinois is convictable by any potential jury in that state!
    If the jury heard how much Blagojevich was spending on clothes etc. per year – and juries are disproportionately poor or working-class, female, and older – he’s halfway into a cell already!

  14. I think there is a little something more to this. I’m getting more and more cynical. Obama has “friends” in Chicago and elsewhere. I’m sure they didn’t want Blago to spill his guts in a courtroom. Just wondering if Blago or his attorneys are a little richer today. I wouldn’t put anything past Blago, Obama, Rezko or Emmanuel. My money is on a hung jury and Obama has skated again.

  15. Considering the current regime, I suspect that our Dear Leader has his minions working behind the scenes to keep Blago’s big mouth shut. A presidential pardon could be part of this shady, Chicago style deal along with some substantial monetary benefits for the Big Haired One. A few million bucks wouldn’t be greatly missed from the hundreds of billions not yet spent from the stimulus money Uncle Sammoud is still holding in reserve for some unexplained reason. Maybe the liberals are hoping American taxpayers will forget about this money over time and they can then spent/waste it the way they want. Anyway, Blago knows too much about the Anointed One’s dirty laundry and if he squeals, he could wind up with a shiv in his back while in prison. Blago should learn from the late Vince Foster and Ron Brown, and keep his trap shut. Besides, the Dear Leader’s cronies could strong arm Blago by threatening to cut off his supply of Rogaine if he goes to the Big House.

  16. The back-room deal may be that 1) the government puts up a weak case and 2) Blago rests & does not drag the president into this … and (this remains to be seen) 3) perhaps he will walk, or perhaps he will be found guilty but the sentence will be ‘light’.

    Winners include Blago, Obama, and the Illinois political system which would be exposed if Blago blabs about all the things that “everyone does” or tells where some of the bodies are hidden (in the metaphorical sense).

    I imagine that Blago had to provide assurances so that once this possible back-door exit is secured for him, he does not blab about Obama or the rest of what he knows at some point in the future – if he is extremely tight-lipped after this trial and has avoided massive jail time – I’m predicting Blago will be a shadow of his former self as far as seeking to tell his story.

    If this theory is wrong and Blago is handed a few hundred years sentence – he can still appeal the verdict and get a new trial, he could blab then – could he not?

  17. Just wondering out loud…does anyone out there know if Tony Rezko has been senrtenced….I don’t believe the judge has sentenced Rezko yet, has to be the longest ARIA on record (lol)

  18. I agree with the first poster, Mike. Taking the stand would virtually assure a conviction in this case. The defense lawyers played their best hand. On the other hand, it is a very risky strategy for the reasons stated in the article. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens….

  19. what amazes me is that the people in that part of the country, Chicago and the State of Illinois, continue to elect such pooe examples of humanity as Blago, Daley, and their tribe. Then they wonder out loud why their lives are so miserable.

    It won’t surprise me if Blago gets off…. from the government, at any rate. Someone suggested the other evil types will get him. I promise I won’t cry.

  20. IF I were a conspiracy buff, I’d conjecture-

    1) The feds strategy to indict Blago before the Senate seat was a favor #1 to the then president-elect. They wanted to keep their jobs. IF they’d let the sale go through, there would be money trails in and out, so we’d know who got the seat, who paid for it AND who got the money.

    2) Favor #2 to the now-president was to NOT call Rahm E. and Tony R.-that would lead to Tony R.’s neighbor (sort of), Mr. Obama.

    3) Blago’s whole courtroom story has been from day 1 – show the jury the money trail- there isn’t any. To the 12 who hear the whole story, they could well believe the gov’t failed to prove its case.

    4) If Blago is acquitted AND if he drops from public view for 18 months, to reappear as a lobbyist or an appointed federal bureaucrat, it will look like he had a deal with somebody, perhaps somebody who wants Blago’s mouth shut AND doesn’t want Blago’s memoirs to be a miniseries. That money trail would be VERY interesting.

  21. Since I live in Chicago, I get updates every day. The general consensus is this:

    It’s rumored that the prosecution has been sitting on particularly damning tapes which the jury has not heard. They had planned on playing those tapes while Rod was on the stand and demand an alternative explanation to what would presumably be considered quid-pro-quo by any reasonable person. It’s also rumored that the rehearsals have not been going all that well, suggesting that Rod’s alternative explanations are inadequate.

    This is precisely what the prosecution did to Rod’s brother Robert, who is standing trial with Rod (Milorad, not Roderick, by the way). Robert was an excellent defense witness before the prosecution dropped some tapes on him that he couldn’t explain.

    Basically, the prosecution has Rod pegged on crimes that could put Rod away for 5-10 years, perhaps. If Rod takes the stand, it’s believed the prosecution will nail him on some major extortion and bribery, which could put Rod away for the rest of his life. So, the defense has decided to cut their losses and rest their case.

  22. Anyone else paying attention to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding?
    She’s marrying son of Ed Mezvinsky – a convicted felon ex-congressman who just did five years in federal prison for “Nigerian scam” fraud!
    The whole damn Democrat Party is rotten.

  23. Illinois: the most astoundingly corrupt state in the US. For years I lived and worked in Madison County (suburb of St. Louis), which, for corruption, is even worse than Cook. I had a patient who for years regaled me with the “good old days”, when they would take in bags of gold coins to the judges to make sure they got the verdict they wanted.

    Therefore, anything can happen. Depends on who got what, and how much. Federal, schmederal. They are all as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.

  24. Mas,
    As you say, this is Chicago! And the Capo is in D.C.
    By Not talking, Blago will breath a lot easier by not singing.

    “I’m not sayin’ notin’, but I hear ‘tings’! Sometimes unfortunate accidents can happen when people flap their lips.”

    “Mr Blago stay low, relax, keep quiet and hope for a hung jury! It’s a lot better that waking up one morning and finding a “hung defendant” iz all i’m sayin’!”

  25. Blago, if he plays his cards right and not squeal, will come out just fine. If found guilty, the Big Haired One will spend a few short years in a federal country club, like the Democratic crook who used to run the post office in Congress many years ago and stole millions of dollars. When he serves his term or is given a pardon by the Anointed One, Blago will be much richer thanks to donations from various dudes (including a former community organizer?) who want to keep their names from being linked to him. If found not guilty, Blago will probably get his own reality TV show, a book deal, and possibly even pose for PLAYGIRL Magazine. Remember, Blago “Loose Lips Sink Ships”.