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Shake up in Team Blago?


There's growing speculation in the Chicago legal community that Sam Adam Sr. and Sam Adam Jr., the unlikely father-son nemeses of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, might not be at the defense table for a retrial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

They have steadfastly avoided answering whether they'll continue. When asked on a public television show Tuesday night, Sam Jr. talked about the need to make money, demands of other clients and the like--but never gave a direct answer.

Both Blagojevich and his campaign fund, which has paid for his defense, are broke. Judge James B. Zagel has said Blagojevich could ask the court for public funds, but the lawyers would have to agree to accept only $110 an hour, the same rate court-appointed counsel gets. The court could also sell Blagojevich assets, such as his D.C. condominium, to pay for his defense.


Lawyers speculate that Sams Sr. and Jr. could ask the judge to withdraw from the case at the Aug. 26 hearing, when Zagel is expected to schedule the retrial. The lawyers say there are three possibilities:

--Zagel could refuse the request and tell the Sams that they have an ethical duty to their client to continue.
--Co-counsel Sheldon Sorosky could take over the defense along with his team of rather young associates and the retrial could quickly begin.
--The whole team could change, which would like necessitate a lengthy delay while the new lawyers get up to speed on the complicated case.

There's growing speculation in the Chicago legal community that Sam Adam Sr. and Sam Adam Jr., the unlikely father-son nemeses of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, might not be at the defense table for a retrial of Blagojevich.

They have steadfastly avoided answering whether they'll continue. When asked on a public television show Tuesday night, Sam Jr. talked about the need to make money, demands of other clients and the like--but never gave a direct answer.

Both Blagojevich and his campaign fund, which has paid for his defense, are broke. Judge James B. Zagel has said Blagojevich could ask the court for public funds, but the lawyers would have to agree to accept only $110 an hour, the same rate court-appointed counsel gets. The court could also sell Blagojevich assets, such as his DC condominium, to pay for his defense.

Lawyers speculate that Sams Sr. and Jr. could ask the judge to withdraw from the case at the Aug. 26 hearing, when Zagel is expected to schedule the retrial. The lawyers say there are three possibilities:

--Zagel could refuse the request and tell the Sams that they have an ethical duty to their client to continue.
--Co-counsel Sheldon Sorosky could take over the defense along with his team of rather young associates and the retrial could quickly begin.
--The whole team could change, which would like necessitate a lengthy delay while the new lawyers get up to speed on the complicated case.

NOTE: the Clerk of Court in conjunction with the Blagojevich trial sent out the following note:

It has come to the Court's attention that certain jurors in the Blagojevich trial are calling and complaining about numerous phone calls from the media asking for interviews and visiting their homes. The United States Marshal has advised the jurors to call 911 to report the incidents. Please keep in mind that some of these jurors simply do not wish to talk, and if they have not agreed to talk with you, we ask that you respect their privacy.

Wow. It's a new one for a court to tell people to call 911 for unwanted media calls.