Blago Redux: Adam Jr. Wants Out
Sam Adam Sr. and Jr., the two lawyers who led the defense of former governor Rod Blagojevich, disagree about whether to stick with the ex-gov when his retrial starts in January.
The elder Adam wants in; the younger Adam does not, according to a prominent Chicago defense attorney, my source on all things related to Blago’s legal troubles. That take was confirmed by Sheldon Sorosky and Aaron Goldstein, two of the seven-member defense team for the trial that ended last month with one conviction on 24 counts. In their conversations with me, both Sorosky and Goldstein used the term “spent” to describe Adam Jr.
Calls to Adam Sr. and Jr. were not returned by post time.
The decision on whether the Adam duo stick with Blago will be made by tomorrow, Goldstein told me, when the father-and-son team meets with Judge James Zagel.
Goldstein said he’s not surprised at the father/son disagreement, given the different roles they played in the case. He described Sr. as “coach of the team.” Meantime, Jr. “had a huge work load.”
Adam Jr. told my source that he never felt comfortable in the Dirksen Building. “He’s got a style and it doesn’t work well there; he’s a sensitive kid,” the source said. Goldstein called that distinction “a nice little story—26th [and California] as opposed to the prim and proper federal court”—but added that “a trial is a trial and a jury is a jury.”
I predict that Sorosky, whose relationship with Blago goes back to the mid-‘80s when Blago rented a room in Sorosky’s law offices, and Goldstein, a young habitué of 26th and California who rents office space in the Adams’ firm, will be Blago’s lawyers in the retrial.
Judge Zagel has told the defense team that the federal government will pay for only two lawyers, and that’s assuming that Blago—of the $5,000 Oxxford suits—is found to be indigent. Blago’s campaign fund, from which the lawyers were paid the first time around, is empty.
“Two of us have to step up to the plate,” Sorosky said. “Sure, I’m ready.”
Goldstein said, “If Rod wants, me, I’m in.”
Still, Sorosky told me that “any lawyer who is honest with himself” knows that Blago would be better off with new faces and a fresh approach. “The general rule in defense law is, when there is a hung jury, the defendant is better off with new lawyers for the second trial.”
But the January retrial date wouldn’t give a new pair of lawyers the eight or nine months they would need to prepare for trial, Sorosky said.
My defense attorney source explained that “nobody of any substance will take the case,” and that “whoever takes the case is going to lose. The Adam father and son already did their victory lap.” He said Blago is bound to be convicted on some of the charges, and the retrial lawyers can only end up looking worse by comparison. “Retrials are bad for the ego,” he added.
Goldstein raised as a hypothetical that he and Sorosky could take on the defense with Adam Sr. volunteering in the “coach” role. “I don’t want to volunteer him as a volunteer,” he added. Sorosky agrees that it’s “certainly possible we could have Sr. and not Jr.”
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