After two weeks of deliberations, the jury literally is still out on whether former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is guilty of 24 various charges of corruption.
The jury is still out metaphorically, too, in regard to predictions about how the Blagojevich case will end, especially after Thursday’s development.
In a note to Judge James Zagel, the Blagojevich jury said they have reached verdicts on only two counts, cannot reach agreement about 11 other counts, and haven’t begun deliberating the remaining 11 counts of wire fraud. The jury asked for guidance as to how it should proceed.
Many observers now believe the outcome of this trial won’t be good for the prosecution. I agree, and here’s why:
While only the jury knows which counts it has reached verdicts on, I’m going to assume that the decided counts were ones they quickly dismissed as unproven. I believe this, rather than the opposite scenario, because the jury hasn’t been able to reach an agreement on any other charge. I think it is more likely for a jury that is still divided on so many counts to have dismissed a couple rather than decide Blagojevich is guilty on those charges but then have a hard time coming to that conclusion on so many others.
I also get the impression that the jury is about to announce itself as hung on the remaining counts, since it asked for direction regarding what to do next. I believe the jury is ready to throw in the towel on this case – two weeks of deliberations is enough for them. By their request, they already have been taking off Fridays, deliberating only on Mondays through Thursdays. That leads me to believe they’re more concerned about getting three-day weekends than coming to a consensus about this case.
Speaking of those three-day weekends, Chicago Tonight correspondent Elizabeth Brackett reported Thursday that the jury has already asked for the next two Fridays off, too. That indicates they probably don’t think they can reach a verdict on many, if any, of the remaining undecided counts anytime soon. But, again, I believe this just means an increased chance of a hung jury on most or all of those charges, and that scenario probably would come sooner than later.
Of course, if there is a hung jury, then the former governor could be retried on the charges without verdicts. But first Blagojevich surely would talk triumphantly (and ad nauseam) about how “the truth” prevailed, even if he is found guilty on those two counts the jury agrees on.
In any case, I’ll continue to wait with great interest to find out what the jury decides. In the meantime, perhaps I’ll brush up on my ’80s trivia in case I ever find myself stuck in a cafeteria with Blagojevich.