Judge in Rod Blagojevich Case to Keep Jurors' Identities Secret Until Verdict is Reached

In a controversial decision revealed Monday, the federal judge presiding over former Gov.

Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial said he intends to keep the identities of jurors secret until a verdict is reached.

Judges usually impose such restrictions out of fear there could be an attempt at jury tampering — such as in a mob trial. But U.S. District Judge James Zagel said his reasoning was different and prompted by the realities of the Internet age.

The judge presiding over former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's corruption case said Monday that the names of the jurors will be kept secret from the public to prevent anyone from contacting them to discuss the trial.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said he would release the names after the verdict.

It is improper to attempt to discuss a case with a juror outside of court unless that juror has been discharged by the judge. Zagel said the jurors at Blagojevich's trial would be referred to in the courtroom by number.

Meanwhile, lawyers for Blagojevich said they have decided to go to the U.S. Supreme Court in their effort to delay his corruption trial, which is slated to begin June 3.