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posted: 8/19/2010 12:01 AM

Do it again, but without us, Blagojevich jurors say

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  • Gurnee resident Cynthia Parker talks Wednesday about being a Blagojevich juror.

      Gurnee resident Cynthia Parker talks Wednesday about being a Blagojevich juror.
    Russell Lissau | Daily Herald

 
 

Blagojevich juror Cynthia Parker believes the government should retry the former governor. But she's not interested in serving on that jury.

"Once is enough. Give someone else a chance," said Parker, a 60-year-old retiree from Gurnee.

Likewise, juror Ralph Schindler says he doesn't think the government should back down now.

"Absolutely, I think the state of Illinois deserves closure on this," said Schindler, 58, of Arlington Heights. "I'm disappointed that we weren't able to give it to them. But I think that the prosecution stands a good chance of getting that."

Both Parker and Schindler said they believed there was enough evidence to convict Blagojevich on at least the count in which he was accused of trying to sell an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

In the end, the jury of six men and six woman found Rod Blagojevich guilty of one felony - lying to federal authorities - and could not reach agreement on 23 other counts. On some counts, including the one involving the Senate seat, just one juror held out against conviction. The judge declared a mistrial, and prosecutors vowed to retry him.

"I think that was the strongest case they had," Parker said of the alleged attempt to sell the Senate appointment.

Like other jurors who spoke out after the trial, both Parker and Schindler said jurors were respectful of one another despite sometimes intense emotion and disagreements.

"I will not say that there weren't some passions at some times - I'm a pretty passionate person," Schindler said. "But there were no personal attacks, no coercion at any time."

Schindler was the one who wanted the jury to be given a copy of the oath they swore, he said in an interview with WTTW Channel 11. The request, granted by Judge James Zagel, was an attempt to prod jurors into reaching a consensus, Schindler said.

He said the task the jury faced was complex, with 105 pages of jury instructions and a "70-something page indictment." He said they made their decisions based on deliberation and the information given them.

And what about the theatrical defense team of Sam Adam Sr. and his son Sam Adam Jr.?

Parker, who said she voted for Blagojevich the first time he ran but not the second, said she wasn't fond of Adam Jr.'s theatrics and wouldn't want him as her attorney.

As for Rod and Patti Blagojevich's decision to bring their children to court toward the end of the trial, Parker said: "I didn't think that was a good idea as a parent, but that's their choice. It was a show sometimes, and I took it as that."

In the end, Parker said she was able to keep her jury assignment secret from friends and relatives. Some had guessed what trial she was on, but she refused to confirm their suspicions.

Schindler said it wasn't so bad giving up his summer to serve on the jury.

"No, I felt it was important; I was pleased to be chosen," he said, while noting the yard work awaiting him. "I just hoped that we could have reached a consensus."

Finished: 'It was a show sometimes, and I took it as that'

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