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Blago judge reprimands defense


Judge James B. Zagel has denied Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam Jr.'s request that he revisit his Friday ruling that Adam may not refer in his closing argument to witnesses not called. Adam is not making a fuss today, as he did late yesterday.

Zagel wondered aloud: "This raises the question if what I have before me is tactics -- and if successful, not bad tactics."

Earlier, Zagel assured Adam that going to jail for contempt was never a possibility (though a contempt citation was). "So if you were wonder who to give your watch to, you don't have to worry about that," the judge told Adam.

The net result is that Adam will be allowed to deliver his closing in one chunk today rather than splitting it into a bit on Monday afternoon and the rest this morning, which is what he had asked Zagel to allow him to do -- and Zagel denied -- just before yesterday's blow-up.

Zagel has warned Adam that if he violates his ruling and "repeatedly" mentions witnesses not called, he will end the defense's closing argument. "The last thing I want to do is sit the defense down in closing arguments," he said. "But I am willing to do it and will do it at the point that I can no longer repair damage done to the jury."

All this was done outside the presence of the jury. They then recessed for 10 minutes. When they resume, the jury will be brought back in and Adam will begin Blago's closing arugment.