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The [Wednesday] Papers

Notes from a trial - or Why Sam Adam Jr. Sucks.

1. "[Sam] Adam started [his closing argument] by taking the heat for not making good on his promise that the former governor would take the stand," the Sun-Times reports.

"I gave you my word, and I meant every word of it," Adam told the jury. "I had no idea, no idea that in two months of trial they would prove nothing."

Wait. So Adam thought prosecutors would prove something?

2. "You know why he spent $400,000 on suits in six years? Because he's a politician. A CEO for the State of Illinois. He's on the front page of the paper every day. They have media every day. You gotta look the part."

The part of an Illinois governor who makes $155,000 a year?

3. "Why did Sarah Palin spend $150,000 on her wardrobe?"

So his client spent more money on his wardrobe than a nominee for vice president?

4. "He's broke, man, BROKE! When I say broke, I mean BROKE!"

No wonder he was so money-hungry! The money for those suits had to come from somewhere!

5. "As much as I like him, and as much as he's loved around the world, this is a man who considered appointing Oprah Winfrey [to the U.S. Senate]," Adam told jurors, the Tribune reports.

Wait. It's Oprah who is loved around the world. Who wouldn't want her as their senator?

6. "No one's going to say he's the sharpest knife in the drawer."

But he's the CEO for the State of Illinois! Then again, I guess he fit the part.

7. "Think about who he was trying to extort. The President of the United States? Give me a break!"

What an idiot! Send this man to jail!

8. "We're all grown-ups here."

Even if my client would hide in the bathroom to avoid having to actually govern the state.

9. "We're gonna win 12-0," Adam said outside the courtroom after it was all over, Politico reports.

Care to make it interesting, Sam?

10. "Blagojevich left the trial without speaking to the press, a rare occasion since the trial started."

He thought his lawyer would have proved something.

Pundit Patrol
PHIL KADNER: "There was a time, a few years back, when I thought the conviction of a former governor on charges of public corruption might send a signal to the elected leaders of this state.

"When the U.S. attorney's office indicted and later convicted George Ryan on charges eerily similar to many facing Blagojevich, I figured the culture of corruption down in Springfield might change.

"I guess I should have taken a seat at the little people's table, as Adam suggested, because I wasn't thinking like a grown-up."

CAROL MARIN: "Patti Blagojevich cried in the arms of her sister-in-law Tuesday afternoon.

"Final arguments had ended, the jury had just left the courtroom, and she simply broke for a moment under the strain.

"Rod Blagojevich, just a few feet away at the defense table, was smiling and talking to his legal team.

"There are two kinds of delusional."

JOHN KASS: "Blago winced. Wife Patti and their teenage daughter leaned toward each other. Mother and child touched temples together. The mom put her arm around the girl.

"It's got to be tough hearing the man of the family described by his lawyer as a simpleton, a chumbolone. But what did Adam have to work with, really? Not much."

The Real Star Of The Trial . . .
. . . has been Judge James Zagel. Let's learn more.

"Zagel is the son of Samuel S. Zagel (1905-1999), a native of Warsaw, Poland who had immigrated to Chicago in 1915, and Ethel Samuels Zagel (1911-1986)," according to Wikipedia. "Zagel earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1962 and a master's degree from the University of Chicago in the same year. He then earned a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1965."

Zagel was briefly the state's revenue director; he was appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan.

Here's where it gets interesting:

* "Zagel played a judge in the 1989 movie Music Box under the stage name J.S. Block."

* "In 2002, Zagel published a novel titled Money to Burn, a fictional thriller about a plot to rob the Federal Reserve Bank."

* "Zagel and his first wife, Chicago TV reporter Pam Zekman, divorced in 1975."

* "Zagel and his current wife, Margaret Maxwell 'Peggy' Zagel, live in the Streeterville neighborhood in downtown Chicago."

And from the Trib in May: "Blagojevich trial judge Zagel regarded as smart, unflappable."

Yes, but it's his smart and wicked wit that earns our praise.

Radio Blago
A prison song.


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Posted on July 28, 2010

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