(WGN-AM)- Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich will be on trial this time next year if U.S. District Judge James Zagel has his way.
At a status hearing in the federal case against the former governor Monday, Zagel told lawyers he would like the trial to be under way by April 2010, or at the latest by July next year.
Zagel told the lawyers there will be a jury questionnaire in the case to quicken the pace of selection and said he anticipates the jury being anonymous, at least until the trial is over. That's because of the volume of calls and letters the judge said his staff has taken from the public giving their opinions on how he should rule on motions.
"I would not want members of the jury to be subjected to outside communications," he said.
With the trial about a year away, defense lawyers said they plan to be prepared.
"If that's what the judge orders, then I'll be ready," said attorney Sam Adam Jr.
The defense team, now officially made up of Adam, his father Sam Adam and Sheldon Sorosky, still is seeking at least one other lawyer to handle pre-trial motions. Zagel said he would rule on that at a later time.
The defense team also was asked about Patricia Blagojevich starting her stint on a reality TV show tonight.
A reporter asked whether that was a "dignified" thing for a former Illinois first lady to do.
The younger Adam said if that's what Blagojevich needs to do to care for her family in the wake of her husband's indictment, then "God love her."
That's what she "was about, is about and will be about," he said.
(The Chicago Tribune contributed to this story)
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Blagojevich Judge: Begin Trial By April 2010
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