CHICAGO, July 6 (UPI) -- Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has asked the judge to keep jury questionnaires in a hint he may appeal his federal corruption conviction.
Defense lawyers filed the motion with U.S. District Judge James Zagel in Chicago Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The deadline to appeal Blagojevich's 17 convictions for fraud, bribery and extortion is July 25.
The defense hopes to show that Zagel should have excluded biased jurors after it exhausted its peremptory challenges, said Michael Ettinger, who defended Blagojevich's brother Robert in the first trial last year. The ex-governor's attorneys were not available for comment.
Ettinger said Zagel is unlikely to free Blagojevich on bond pending an appeal, especially since he was convicted in his first trial of lying to the FBI, which carries a five-year term.
"In any courtroom it's going to be an uphill battle," said former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Cramer, who has argued cases before Zagel. "In Judge Zagel's courtroom, it's almost an insurmountable mountain."
"I don't care what 12 people were in that box," he added. "Once they pushed play on the tape recorder, they're gonna convict."