Rod Blagojevich's lawyers argue again for trial delay, this time alleging jury selection mishandling
Lawyers for former Gov.
Rod Blagojevich have again tried to delay the start of his public corruption trial next week, this time alleging U.S. District Judge James Zagel has mishandled jury selection.
In court papers filed late Tuesday, the defense said Zagel has been dismissing members of a large jury pool organized for the case without the lawyers getting to hear or understand why Zagel has let them go. At a recent hearing, the judge said he was dismissing many would-be jurors who could not serve on a trial that may last for several months.
In court papers filed late Tuesday, the lawyers say jury selection for the trial that's scheduled to begin June 3 should be restarted.
No questioning of potential jurors has begun. But attorneys for the former governor and his brother say they understand about 300 of the 400 possible jurors contacted by the court have already been dismissed by the judge.
Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to scheming to sell or trade President Barack Obama's former Senate seat and other charges.
Defense lawyers in Rod Blagojevich's case want U.S. District Judge James Zagel to start all over with qualifying jurors for selection in next week's trial.
Lawyers say Zagel excused hundreds of jurors who marked on a questionnaire that serving on a several-month trial would be a hardship.
A motion filed today by Rod and Robert Blagojevich's lawyers says the judge excused more than 75 percent of the 400-member potential juror pool without allowing defense lawyers to check whether "an undue hardship or extreme inconvenience truly existed."