It’s the best-kept secret in town. In fact, no one seems to be covering it at all: Today is Day 11 of jury deliberations in the Rod Blagojevich federal corruption trial in Chicago. The national media seems to have forgotten all about the case, but here’s a snippet from a bored Chicago Tribune reporter blogging from the courthouse lobby:
News photographers continue to lounge in umbrella chairs in the building’s lobby, every now and again spotting a lawyer from the case to take a picture of, while TV reporters are seemingly on an endless loop of standing in front of news cameras to report that while the jury is here working, there’s no verdict yet.
Print reporters are slightly better off, occasionally writing short Internet items (like this one) and starting talk of what to get for lunch by about 11:15 a.m. (Taco salad).
(Festive lunch offerings aside, reporters on the trial are kept on what Bob Secter described as "The Naked Beeper"--if the jury reaches a verdict, your editors better be able to reach you even if you're in the shower.)
Over at the Chicago Sun-Times, the “Blago Blog” reported on a Blago look-alike who is a civil attorney and an actor from Showtime (check out the photo here). He and his girlfriend bought cheap tickets to Chicago on Priceline and held a fake press conference in the courthouse lobby to talk about Blago: “I’ve developed this warm spot for him. I feel his pain.” The actor said that his hair has always looked that way. Really.
Sounds pretty slow there. (I’m a little confused why you’d need an “umbrella chair” inside a federal courthouse. Leaky roof? Blinding sunlight? Just feeling beachy?) The question is, are the six men and six women hopelessly deadlocked, or just still reviewing the facts of the case? His lawyers’ decision not to put Blago on the stand or present a defense--because they said the government didn’t prove its case--may not have been such a bad idea.
Usually the longer the jury’s out, the better the chances of a mistrial due to a hung jury. Clearly there must be a bit of doubt in some juror’s mind. All Blago needs is one juror to feel his pain. He’s already got the look-alike from Showtime on his side.
Keep that Naked Beeper on! More taco salads!