Rod Blagojevich's brother requests separate trial
Robert Blagojevich, brother and co-defendant of our ex-governor Rod Blagojevich, has asked to have his trial separated from that of his brother's. Why?
Taint: he doesn't want any taint against the ex-gov to rub off on his part of the trial. In a motion recently filed in court, Rob's attorney, Michael Ettinger, said:
"The publicity and media exposure regarding Rod Blagojevich will distract the jury's focus of the case and the evidence against Robert Blagojevich...a great deal of evidence that would not be admissible against Robert Blagojevich if he were tried alone. This poses a danger that the jury may be prevented from making a reliable judgment about Robert Blagojevich's guilt or innocence."
Robert is a Nashville businessman who is accused of helping his brother try to sell off the U.S. Senate seat as as chairman of the Friends of Blagojevich campaign committee. While attorneys for the two insist the brothers are still amicable, there has been tension reported between the two due to strain of the impending trial, which is scheduled to start June 3. After watching Rod's run on Celebrity Apprentice, we'd distance ourselves, too.
Rod Blagojevich's brother told a federal judge Thursday that he doesn't want to be tried on corruption charges alongside the ousted Illinois governor because witness testimony against his brother could bias jurors against him.
Businessman Robert Blagojevich filed court papers asking a federal judge for a separate trial. Most of the evidence gathered by federal prosecutors focuses on his brother and he worried about a "spill over" effect, according to a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
Jurors would hear "a great deal of evidence that would not be admissible against Robert Blagojevich if he were tried alone," the motion said. "This poses a danger that the jury may be prevented from making a reliable judgment about Robert Blagojevich's guilt or innocence."
The brother of Rod Blagojevich has asked for a separate trial from the former governor, arguing he had a limited role in the alleged conspiracy and that it would be unfair to sit through a lengthy trial dominated by evidence against Blagojevich.
Lawyers for the brother pointed out that the indictment accuses the former governor of wrongdoing from 2002 through 2008, yet Robert Blagojevich ran his brother's campaign fund for just a part of 2008.
"The overwhelming evidence presented at trial will be against Robert Blagojevich's brother, Rod," the defense motion said. "The jury will hear a great deal of evidence that would not be admissible against Robert Blagojevich if he were tried alone."
Publicity surrounding the case also could prejudice Robert Blagojevich, his lawyers said.