Thursday, March 18, 2010

PANTAGRAPH: Federal Judge Refuses to Delay Blagojevich Trial


CHICAGO -- A federal judge refused Wednesday to postpone the June start of ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial, brushing aside defense attorneys' claims that they won't have enough time to prepare.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel also dismissed defense attorneys' concerns that U.S. Supreme Court decisions expected by the end of June could unfairly complicate the trial.

Zagel said he saw no reason to delay the trial's June 3 start date.

If the date holds, voters will likely hear months of testimony about the former Democratic governor's alleged misdeeds as the party tries to retain his former seat and the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama.

Prosecutors say Blagojevich schemed to sell or trade that Senate seat and used his power to illegally pressure political campaign donors.

Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges.

Prosecutors estimate the trial will last three to four months.


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