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Inherit The Windbag: So What Next?

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jul 22, 2010 2:00PM

We were prepared for a three-ring circus, a trial of corruption of epic proportions that could have lasted throughout the summer and into the fall, as many as three to four months. What we got instead was a case that lasted about six weeks but at least it provided all the theatrics, twists, and turns we were expecting. (Hell, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal was so hell-bent on getting in his questions he managed to get himself arrested.) The defense's case lasted all of two days, with only Robert and Julie Blagojevich testifying and that was on Robert's behalf. As we all know now, former governor Rod chose not to testify on his own behalf and his defense decided to rest without calling a single witness, apparently content that the prosecution hasn't proven any wrong-doing by Rod beyond a reasonable doubt. If there's one thing Blago loves to do, it's talk and that's what he did outside the courthouse yesterday, explaining:

“The government proved I never took a corrupt dollar. I never took a corrupt dime, not a corrupt nickel, not a corrupt penny,” the former governor said over a cacophony of snapping cameras.

"The government played some of the tapes. In the tapes the government played, they didn’t prove . . . I did [anything] illegal. In fact, they proved I sought the advice of my lawyers and my advisors,” he continued. “They proved I was on the phone talking with them, brainstorming about ideas. Yes, they proved some of the ideas were stupid. But they also proved some of the ideas were good.”

"The government in their case proved my innocence.’’

Of course, unsurprisingly, sources told the Tribune that it was concern over Blago's babbling nature and the trouble it could cause him on the stand under cross-examination that gave the defense cold feet about letting their well-coifed client take the stand in his own defense.

So what happens next? For starters, the attorneys will return to court where they'll argue over discuss exactly which charges will be sent to the jury. The defense is hoping to have, among other things, the conspiracy charge tossed. And in one of the stranger moments - if that's still possible - Judge Zagel compared Tony Rezko's payment for nothing to Patti Blagojevich to those madames of yore, the Everleigh sisters (brilliantly captured in Karen Abbott's Sin in the Second City) comparing it as a bribe similar to what the Everleighs often paid. There will be another brief attorney-only hearing this morning at which these matters are cleared up. And then it's a weekend of prep for closing arguments. The jury has been instructed to return on Monday morning when closing arguments will begin at 9:30 a.m. After that, the fate of our ex-governor and his brother will be in the hands of the jury. Given the complexity of some of the charges, we don't expect a quick turn-around to the verdict, but we'll be waiting impatiently for this all to end just the same.