I interviewed after closing arguments in the case in late July…">
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Carol Felsenthal
On politics

Sam Adam Jr. and Sr. Are Out, Says a Top Defense Lawyer

The father-and-son defense team that represented Rod Blagojevich in the ex-gov’s corruption case is likely to bow out before the retrial, according to a prominent veteran defense lawyer in town who knows the Adams well. My source, whom I interviewed after closing arguments in the case in late July…

The father-and-son defense team that represented Rod Blagojevich in the ex-gov’s corruption case is likely to bow out before the retrial, according to a prominent veteran defense lawyer in town who knows the Adams well.

My source, whom I interviewed after closing arguments in the case in late July, again asked not to be identified when we talked last night. I was one of many journalists trying to land an interview with him after Monday’s verdict. Here, the highlights of our conversation

On Sam Adam Jr. and Sr.:
They’re looking for 18 ways to withdraw. They got all this great publicity, and the public perception is that they had a victory. The likelihood is they’ll lose the second trial, so what’s the benefit to them? Sam Jr. got all the publicity. He’s going to get a shitload of business. Why spend six more months involved in this case? [Also,] because it was a six-week trial, they ended up making money; had it been a four-month trial, they would have lost money.

Blago could get five years on the one count on which he was convicted. Had he been found guilty on all 24, he would have gotten six-and-a-half years. Thoughts?
Everybody has been getting six-and-a-half years in that [courthouse]. George Ryan got six-and-a-half; Conrad Black got six-and-a-half. I would guess that were [Blago] convicted of everything, he’d get six-and-a-half.

Is there a possibility that the government will not retry the case?
There is no possibility.

What’s the likely timing of the retrial, and would Judge Zagel try that case?
Three months in the unlikely possibility that Adam father and son stay on. If they go and a couple of the current lawyers stay on, six months. If they get all new lawyers, eight months to a year. [Zagel] will handle the second trial.

What about Robert Blagojevich?
He will be retried. Had he won a couple of counts, he might not have been. His lawyer [Michael Ettinger] will stick with him if Robert wants him. Rob and Rod will be tried together.

Who are the winners and losers in the case?
The government is a loser. Rod Blagojevich is a loser too. If he goes to jail for five years, he’s a loser.

Any thoughts on the single holdout on the jury?
Everyone told me that a woman was the single holdout; some say she’s black, some say she’s white. Generally, if you’re going to get a holdout on a jury, it’s going to be a black woman.  [The holdout is reported to be an African American woman, a retired senior staffer at the Illinois Department of Public Health who worked on teen pregnancy issues.

What did you think about the post-verdict press conference performance of Adam Jr. and Sr.?
I think they’re crazy. It was like a bunch of madmen talking. Later on, when [Adam Jr.] was on [WTTW’s] Chicago Tonight, I thought he was very eloquent, but when he’s near his father, his father runs him. When he’s near his father, he acts like him.

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