Judge in Rod Blagojevich Trial Denies Gag Order Request by Prosecutors

If this is what he keeps doing, I don't think it's that big a deal.”

— Judge James Zagel

Judge James Zagel has shot down prosecutors' request to put a gag order on Rod Blagojevich, arguing that the ex-governor is doing little damage with his vague and repetitive statements.

"It is reported to me," Zagel said, "that one defendant (brother Robert Blagojevich) says nothing about anything, and the other defendant (Rod Blagojevich) says one of two things: One, I am innocent, or two, all the witnesses against me are lying."

After the jury was sent home for the day, U.S. District Judge James Zagel disclosed he wouldn’t “gag” Blagojevich and his lawyers from talking publicly about the trial, as the government had recently sought.

Leaving court, Blagojevich was all smiles as he again posed for pictures and shook hands of well-wishers.

He said it was "fantastic" that Zagel had not issued the “gag” order.

"The First Amendment is sacrosanct in the United States," he said to reporters, later adding, "I don't know what it would be like walking out of the courtroom if I couldn't talk to you."