Search Our Website:
Stuart P. Slotnick, managing shareholder of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney's New York office and vice chair of the firm's Business Litigation and Trial Practice group, was quoted in an August 12, 2010, article published by The Christian Science Monitor. The article, titled "Why Rod Blagojevich jury deadlock could be good news for defense," discussed the federal corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

As reported, the jury "reached a verdict on two of the 24 counts, the judge presiding over the case said Thursday (August 12), but it is uncertain which of the counts the jury has reached a verdict on and what those verdicts are."

The article went on to report, "What is known is the jury has not yet even voted on the 11 counts of wire fraud. Of the additional 11 counts, the jury is deadlocked. … Thursday marks the 12th day of deliberations in this high-profile trial in which the charges against Mr. Blagojevich  relate to his alleged efforts to sell President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat and other schemes to raise money for his campaign trust. While reading the jury's actions is now a late summer sport for Chicago trial watchers, some legal experts say the drawn-out process plays well for the defense."

Weighing in as a "legal expert," Slotnick explained, "If it was an open-and-shut case, it would have been shut by now. [The jury] may think there is a reasonable doubt and the longer they're talking about these issues and the more doubt comes up, the better it is for the defense attorneys."

He went on to say that the defense now has the opportunity to ask for a mistrial, and that such a request is likely if the jury returns a second time with news they are at an impasse regarding the majority of counts.

As noted by the article, "Retrying Blagojevich, and his brother Robert, who is charged with four counts, plays in the defense's favor. The defense would have transcripts from the first trial at their disposal, and it could use them to contradict witness testimony from the prosecution."

"It's very unusual that people tell an account of events the same way twice, and once you've had the benefit of looking over transcripts you can come up with so many new avenues for cross-examination," Slotnick said. "If [new testimony] differs at all from prior sworn testimony, [the defense] will use it as a noose and hang them with it."

Additionally, the article reported that "Because so much is unclear regarding the two verdicts the jury has successfully decided upon, it is too early to speculate about possible convictions."

Considering the serious charges leveled against him, Rod Blagojevich can still receive a "significant sentence" if the verdicts are against him, Slotnick said.