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Rod Blagojevich, former Ill. Governor, seeks to get FBI wiretap evidence tossed from second trial

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrives at federal court for is arraignment on federal racketeering and fraud charges in Chicago, Tuesday, April 14, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Rod Blagojevich, former Ill. Governor, wants FBI wiretapings excluded from second trial, says motion
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

(CBS/AP) CHICAGO - Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his legal team have asked a federal judge to bar prosecutors from playing any FBI wiretap recordings to jurors at his upcoming retrial, arguing that the evidence which is crucial to the government's case is unreliable.

The six-page motion filed Monday with the U.S. District court in Chicago argues that Judge James Zagel should throw out the hundreds of recordings made in the days before Blagojevich's Dec. 9, 2008 arrest because many of them contain gaps which could lead to a misinterpretation of the taped conversations.

However, the defense did not offer an alternative interpretation for what Blagojevich might have meant.

Monday's motion cites the best-known secret recording of Blagojevich in which he is heard saying about the U.S. Senate seat vacated by then presidential hopeful Barack Obama:  "I've got this thing and it's (expletive) golden. ... I'm just not giving it up for (expletive) nothing."

The 54-year-old impeached governor faces an April 20 retrial on 23 charges, including that he tried to sell or trade an appointment to Obama's vacated seat.

Federal agents secretly monitoring wiretapped phone are required to limit what they record to conversations pertinent to an investigation.

The motion also indicated that the defense submitted 32 pages of addition pages of sealed documents.

While defense attorneys don't want jurors at the retrial to hear any of the recordings, they still want to be able to release them to the public, according to the motion.

The judge has prohibited attorneys from revealing details of recordings that were not admitted into evidence during the first trial in August, which ended with jurors deadlocked on 23 of 24 charges, forcing a second trial.

During the first trial, prosecutors played recordings of an often angry, foul-mouthed Blagojevich talking about how he might benefit from a Senate-seat appointment.

COMPLETE CRIMESIDER COVERAGE OF ROD BLAGOJEVICH TRIAL

  • Caroline Black

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