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Media: Unseal Blago Document

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Apr 9, 2010 2:20PM

celebrity_apprentice_rod_blagojevich_harry_potter_1.jpg A trio of media outlets are asking U.S. District Judge James Zagel to unseal the Santiago proffer, the document that outlines the feds' case against the former governor that prosecutors filed under seal earlier this week. The Tribune, Sun-Times, and Associated Press made the request, citing the First Amendment. Lawyers for those outlets said, "Those rights, and the public's interest in their vindication, are of paramount importance in this case. No one could question the public's interest in receiving information about a case alleging public corruption at the highest levels of state government, including the alleged ‘sale' of a United States Senate seat by a sitting governor."

The proffer [PDF] claims it "describes in significant detail the evidence that supports certain of the criminal charges against defendants Rod Blagojevich and Robert Blagojevich." But the document also claims it has some brand spanking new evidence that it doesn't want to taint a jury pool with before the judge and defense get a crack at examining it (the process of qualifying jurors has already begun). Attorneys for Blagojevich said they oppose the unsealing because only pieces of the government wiretap tapes would be heard instead of the entire conversations, putting those clips out of context.

Judge Zagel will take up the issue today at a status hearing which will also involve a request from Robert Blagojevich to not play any of the tapes and one from the feds asking the judge to compel a former Blago attorney to testify.