Tag Archives: Judge James Zagel

Rod Blagojevich lawyers request special hearing, John Wyma testimony, Judge James Zagel, Tony Rezko, Provena Health, Evidentiary hearing request

Rod Blagojevich lawyers request special hearing, John Wyma testimony, Judge James Zagel, Tony Rezko, Provena Health, Evidentiary hearing request

“Why did Patrick Fitzgerald and the US Justice Department wait until December 2008 to arrest Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells

“I believe I’m more pristine on Rezko than him.”…Rod Blagojevich

From the Chicago SunTimes November 28, 2011.

“Blago’s lawyers want hearing based on new John Wyma information”

“Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers are asking for a special hearing to discuss what they say is new information regarding a key witness at the former governor’s trial.

They are asking U.S. District Judge James Zagel for an evidentiary hearing regarding the testimony of onetime Blagojevich friend and lobbyist John Wyma, arguing they weren’t allowed to properly cross examine him at trial. It was Wyma’s cooperation in 2008 that led to FBI wiretaps against the now-convicted ex-governor.

In a weekend filing, lawyers questioned whether the government properly vetted information against Wyma that was provided by a cooperating Tony Rezko. Rezko, a onetime fund-raiser to Blagojevich convicted on 16 counts of corruption, was sentenced to 10 ½ years last week.

In filings regarding Rezko’s sentencing, Wyma’s cooperation with the government is discussed, including that Rezko told prosecutors that he tried to extract a campaign contribution through Wyma from Provena Health, whom Wyma represented as a lobbyist at the time.

Lawyers question whether bribery was involved when Provena was granted a certificate of need from an Illinois hospital board. Rezko told prosecutors in private sessions that Provena had a dispute with someone on the hospital board and resolved it by paying the board member, according to the Blagojevich defense filing. Prosecutors say the charge was unsubstantiated.

“Blagojevich did not have any knowledge about and was absolutely unaware of the Provena activities of Rezko and Wyma,” the filing says.

It says after Rezko gave the information to prosecutors, Wyma was hit with a subpoena.

“Shortly after Wyma received this grand jury subpoena, he agreed to be, and became, an informant for the government. This allowed the government to obtain a wiretap on Blagojevich’s telephones,” lawyers wrote.

After the taps were secured, Blagojevich’s lawyers said, prosecutors deemed Rezko’s information “not substantiated.”

“If the incriminating evidence against Wyma was not substantiated because it was not investigated, the government’s statement is misleading,” defense lawyers wrote.

Provena officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Blagojevich’s lawyer, Shelly Sorosky, said the new information was based on filings before Rezko’s sentencing, where both sides agree Rezko’s cooperation led the government to Wyma.”

Read more:
http://www.suntimes.com/9114418-417/blagos-lawyers-want-hearing-based-on-new-john-wyma-information.html

Thanks to commenter Bessie.

Blagojevich attorneys request tapes, Judge James Zagel, Off limits wiretaps, 2 percent played touch Obama

Blagojevich attorneys request tapes, Judge James Zagel, Off limits wiretaps, 2 percent played touch Obama

“Why did Patrick Fitzgerald and the US Justice Department wait until December 2008 to arrest Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells

“Why did the Illinois Senate Health & Human Services Committee, with Obama as chairman, create and push Bill 1332, “Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act,” early in 2003, which reduced the number of members on the Board from 15 to 9, just prior to rigging by Tony Rezko and Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells

“I believe I’m more pristine on Rezko than him.”…Rod Blagojevich

From NBC Chicago November 25, 2011.

“Blago Attorneys Want Off-Limits Tapes Heard”

“While most Chicagoans were feasting on their own Thanksgiving dinners, convicted former Governor Rod Blagojevich and his family gathered for what was likely one of the former governor’s last holidays at home before he begins serving a term in federal prison.

At the same time, his lawyers were filing the legal equivalent of a Hail Mary as Blagojevich’s sentencing date approaches.
Blagojevich and his attorneys have asked Judge James Zagel for permission to reference portions of until-now confidential undercover recordings. The tapes were previously branded off-limits by Zagel in April of 2009.

“The defense does not seek to play any wiretap recordings in their entirety,” the lawyers wrote. “The brief excerpts of recordings or transcripts that Mr. Blagojevich is seeking to play in court and to reference in his written sentencing submission…do not involve sensitive, personal, or embarrassing comments about, or references to, any individuals.”

The lawyers reference over 150 tapes. While most involve conversations between Blagojevich and his advisors, at least one features the former governor speaking with his wife and daughters. Several involve then-congressman Rahm Emanuel, and still another feature luminaries as diverse as former school board chief Gery Chico, former alderman Ed Smith, and White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.”

http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Blagojevich-Blago-Attorneys-Tapes-134487403.html

From Citizen Wells July 18, 2011.

“Rod Blagojevich and his lawyers have long complained that prosecutors and the judge in his two trials were fundamentally unfair, but after his sweeping corruption conviction Monday, only a successful appeal built on that belief stands between the former governor and a possible double-digit prison sentence.
From early denials of Blagojevich’s demands to “play all the tapes” in his case, to U.S. District Judge James Zagel’s limiting of the former governor’s defense at his retrial, Blagojevich has always felt handcuffed, said one of his lawyers, Sam Adam Jr.”

“The appeal will likely argue that in both trials, the judge unfairly barred the defense from playing many undercover recordings critical to its case, severely limited cross-examination of government witnesses and allowed too many jurors who professed bias onto the panel, Adam said.
The government was allowed to play at trial more than 90 of the secretly made recordings of Blagojevich, Adam said, while the defense was allowed just four.
“The jury only got to hear one side of the tapes,” Adam said. “If you do that, you’re going to guarantee a conviction.”
In a mistrial motion filed June 9 as closing arguments were under way, the team of defense lawyers at the retrial accused Zagel of bias and having a “closed mind” on the evidence.”

“The Federal rules on discovery are crystal clear.
“Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure”
“IV. ARRAIGNMENT AND PREPARATION FOR TRIAL > Rule 16.
Rule 16. Discovery and Inspection
(a) Government’s Disclosure.
(1) Information Subject to Disclosure.”
“(B) Defendant’s Written or Recorded Statement.
Upon a defendant’s request, the government must disclose to the defendant, and make available for inspection, copying, or photographing, all of the following:
(i) any relevant written or recorded statement by the defendant if:
•the statement is within the government’s possession, custody, or control; and
•the attorney for the government knows — or through due diligence could know — that the statement exists;”

http://citizenwells.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/blagojevich-appeal-federal-rules-of-criminal-procedure-denial-of-tapes-setup-federal-discovery-rules-clear/

Only 2 percent of the wiretaps were released. From that small amount we learn the following.

Bill Cellini trial, Illinois Republican political boss, Springfield insider, Blagojevich Rezko Obama, Judge James Zagel

Bill Cellini trial, Illinois Republican political boss, Springfield insider, Blagojevich Rezko Obama, Judge James Zagel

From John Kass of the Chicago Tribune October 2, 2011.

“Cellini flies into court under the radar, and that’s the way he likes it”

“Will this week’s federal corruption trial of longtime Illinois Republican political boss and gazillionaire William Cellini get as much media coverage as the trial of former Gov. Dead Meat?

Of course it won’t. And that’s unfortunate, since the Cellini case appears to be the last in the federal government’s Operation Board Games investigation into bipartisan Combine sleaze.
 
When Gov. Dead Meat was on trial, the media flocked to cover him. There were dozens of news cameras in the lobby of the federal building. Weird, desperate groupies hung outside, begging Dead Meat to acknowledge them, to touch them, to sign their skin.

But Bill Cellini?

Who?

Cellini has been charged with extortion and other crimes, for allegedly using his political influence with government officials (both Democrats and Republicans) to squeeze people.

His attorney, the distinguished former federal prosecutor Dan Webb, has dismissed the prosecution’s case, calling it weak. And Webb also makes the valid point that while Cellini is indeed a wealthy man, there is nothing illegal about becoming wealthy and knowing politicians.

Cellini has made fortunes in state-licensed casino gambling ventures, real estate development with state and Chicago City Hall connections, and management of state pension funds.

So it was probably just an amazing coincidence that a rather timid-looking former high school physics teacher made a killing in all these high-powered, politically leveraged businesses.

Is it a miracle? Or is this just another political story with an Illinois happy ending?

Webb had hoped to narrow the scope of the trial, to have it focus strictly on whether Cellini did or did not use his connections on state pension boards to muscle a Hollywood producer for campaign cash for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The Hollywood producer is Tom Rosenberg, and he’s no shrinking violet, and no stranger to hardball Illinois politics.

But U.S. District Judge James Zagel signaled that he will allow — at least in the early stages of the trial — more background and context. That will help jurors fully understand the extent of the political muscle involved.

Unfortunately, I’ve got a feeling that Cellini on trial won’t generate the publicity buzz he deserves.”

Perhaps part of the reason involves titles of great prestige. Blagojevich, a Democrat, got oodles of publicity before, during and after his corruption trials.

Dead Meat was, after all, a governor. So he had a title. He worked closely with President Barack Obama’s real estate fairy and convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko. And Dead Meat had big hair.”

“For four decades now, Bill Cellini has worn many magic hats in Springfield. One gave him remarkable power over governors. Another was his hat as boss of Springfield. And then there was the cunning cap of media invisibility.

But he also wore a road builder’s hat. It’s more like a crown. For years, Cellini was the boss of the road builders. The kings of concrete and asphalt would flock to him for advice on “shovel-ready projects.”

And so Republican Cellini told the guys they should give money to Democrat Blagojevich.

But after the fundraiser, an amazing thing happened.

Glynn testified that Blagojevich’s senior adviser, Christopher Kelly — the same fellow who was later indicted and then committed suicide — came to see her.

Kelly asked her to wipe Cellini’s name from the fundraiser, and give credit instead to Rezko and former state Sen. James A. DeLeo, D-How You Doin?

Glynn said Kelly wanted her to call it the Rezko-DeLeo-Roadbuilders fundraiser for Blagojevich.

“Chris Kelly told us to call it that,” Glynn testified.

Combine? What Combine?

Good hair or bad hair, jury selection in the Cellini trial is scheduled for Monday.”

Read more:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-1002-20111002,0,1626862,full.column

Blagojevich sentencing delayed, Judge James Zagel, William Cellini trial, Postponed until a further order of the court

Blagojevich sentencing delayed, Judge James Zagel, William Cellini trial, Postponed until a further order of the court

From the Chicago Tribune September 26, 2011.

“Federal judge delays Blagojevich sentencing”
“Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s sentencing next month on his sweeping corruption charges has been postponed, according to a court order Monday.

No new date has been set.

The Oct. 6 date has always been tentative, and the postponement is not surprising largely because  Blagojevich’s co-defendant, William Cellini, is scheduled to go on trial next Monday in the same courtroom.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel, who will preside over both Blagojevich’s sentencing and Cellini’s trial, said in a written order on Monday that the former governor’s sentencing has been postponed “until a further order of the court.””

 http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-federal-judge-delays-blagojevich-sentencing-20110926,0,1317100.story

Blagojevich trial juror names secret, Judge James Zagel, Questionnaires not released

Blagojevich trial juror names secret, Judge James Zagel, Questionnaires not released

“Why did the Illinois Senate Health & Human Services Committee, with Obama as chairman, create and push Bill 1332, “Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act,” early in 2003, which reduced the number of members on the Board from 15 to 9, just prior to rigging by Tony Rezko and Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells

From the Chicago Tribune February 8, 2011.

“The federal judge presiding over the retrial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich ruled today that he intends to keep the names of jurors secret until after the verdict and won’t publicly release the written questionnaires they fill out.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel said he intends to destroy the questionnaires to “help ensure full candor of responses.” He took the same action after the first trial last year.

The judge also said he would identify jurors by number during the trial and only release their names eight hours after the verdict is returned. He released the names moments after the verdict was announced last time.

Zagel wasn’t specific about why he made the change, writing, “Incidents occurring after juror names were released following the first trial counsels the wisdom of providing a short delay in releasing jurors’ names, even after the verdict is returned.””

Read more:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chibrknews-judge-blagojevich-jurors-to-remain-secret-20110208,0,2705694.story

Blagojevich retrial hearing, August 26, 2010, Judge James Zagel, Citizen Wells open thread

Blagojevich retrial hearing, August 26, 2010, Judge James Zagel

The retrial hearing for Rod Blagojevich takes place today, Thursday, August 26, 2010.

From the Chicago Tribune.

“The retrial of Rod Blagojevich could look decidedly different from the first go-around if the bombastic father-and-son team of Sam Adam and Sam Adam Jr. drop off the case, as the former governor’s lead lawyers have hinted since last week.

Both Adams have suggested they want out of a repeat performance, with the younger one telling attorneys in the case that it’s time for him and his father to move on, according to sources.

Sheldon Sorosky, another Blagojevich lawyer who could remain on a reduced two-member defense team, said Wednesday he believes the younger Adam, whom he described as a “legal Michelangelo,” may struggle to find the energy to tackle the mammoth task again.

Adam’s closing argument was marked by loud and passionate pleas, a flurry of government objections and even an apology for sweating on a juror.

Some answers could become apparent Thursday as U.S. District Judge James Zagel holds the first public status hearing since the trial ended last week, with the jury convicting Blagojevich of lying to the FBI about his knowledge of political fundraising but deadlocking on all the other 23 counts.”

“”The primary purpose (for the hearing) is to set a new trial date,” Sorosky said. “Then, as in any retrial situation, the second purpose — which this time may eclipse the first — is the lawyer situation.”

In a private conference last week with attorneys in the case, Zagel said he expects the former governor to be allowed just two lawyers for the retrial.

Blagojevich, who had seven attorneys for the first trial, has tapped out his $2.7 million campaign fund, which under Zagel’s supervision was used to pay his legal fees. Rules under the Criminal Justice Act allow a defendant whose defense is paid for with taxpayer funds to have no more than two lawyers.”

Read more:

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/08/blagojevich-hearing-could-answer-question-over-lawyers.html

Blagojevich trial January 2011?, Judge James Zagel, Public defenders, Citizen Wells open thread, August 24, 2010

Blagojevich trial January 2011?, Judge James Zagel, Public defenders

From the Chicago Tribune August 23, 2010.

“At a private meeting last week with lawyers in the case, U.S. District Judge James Zagel said he was eyeing January for a second trial and suggested he would appoint two attorneys for Blagojevich at taxpayer expense, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Blagojevich’s legal team of seven lawyers was paid from his campaign funds for the first trial, but taxpayers will have to foot the bill for the retrial because the $2.7 million in campaign money ran out.

No date for a retrial has been picked, and the matter remains fluid, those with knowledge of the meeting said. The attorneys are scheduled to meet for a public status hearing in front of Zagel on Thursday.”

Read more:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/blagojevich/ct-met-blagojevich-retrial-0824-20100823,0,7833059.story