A sneaky way Blagojevich could speak

You probably have heard by now that Rod Blagojevich isn't going to testify.  It's surely a smart move.  The papers don't like it and it may not be popular PR wise, but his freedom is on the line.  It appears that the Government held back some of their case to go after him on cross-examination and/or rebuttal.  The Feds may have made an error that will set Blago free.  Yet he may still have his opportunity to speak to the jury.

His attorney is one of the most polished and entertaining lawyers around and you can bet that most of the closing argument will be him hammering the Government's case.  But nothing prevents Blago from doing all or part of the closing argument himself.  He can't offer any evidence, but he can certainly explain things away while arguing on his own behalf.

It would be gutsy and rare and likely won't happen.  But it certainly could and if he pulls it off it would be the legal equivalent of having your cake and eating it too because the Feds wouldn't be able to ask him one thing.  We'll see.

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  • We'll have to see what he tries to pull off, and, he, in effect, pulled this off before the Illinois Senate, but I told the following to someone else who floated this in a Tribune comment board of one type of another.

    (1) It is not established that Blago is admitted to the District Court bar, and if so, whether he has trial certification needed to practice before that court. His Illinois law license isn't good enough for that.

    (2) Judges don't allow mixed representation by counsel and pro se, and especially if the pro se party is an attorney.

    (3) If the reason that he isn't testifying, and he left the lobby immediately after making is prepared statement is that "I talk too much," imagine the risk if he started talking. Another attorney on that board pointed out that the prosecution gets the last word, and would skewer whatever Rod said.

    (4) If reports about the order are correct, Sam Adam Jr. got the 2-1/2 hours.

    Aside from that, Zagel has proven continuously through this process that he isn't taking b.s. from the defense. The defense started off on the wrong foot with its "delay for any reason" strategy, including for the kindergarten graduation. Zagel said when the trial was going to start, and when the defense was going to start, and those stuck. Has the defense won even one motion? Even if Blago arguing would be invited error, and thus not grounds for appeal, it doesn't look like Zagel would mess with it.

    After all, everyone was crying that Ryan got such an unfair trial, but he's still in prison.

  • With regard to Zagel, I should have also mentioned that he put Rod in his place after the "meet me in the corral and show the guts to play all the tapes" episode, after which Zagel said that he was the referee, and Rod then said, to the effect that Zagel is fair. Does Rod really want that kind of confrontation with the judge before the jury? I don't think he is that nuts.

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