Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
Said Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner to the Blago jury Monday, while summing up the government's case:
"Talking is the crime here."
Niewoehner said the law "doesn't require you to be a successful crook. It just requires you to be a crook."
If I were on the Blago jury, I'm not sure I'd agree with that. I'd feel a little uneasy about the First Amendment. I'd wonder how it can be a crime to talk if nobody's listening. I wouldn't hold it against Rod Blagojevich that he promised to testify and then he didn't. I'd realize that this broken promise fit perfectly into his defense strategy, which is to present himself as someone who is incapable of saying anything, ever, to anyone that anyone else should take seriously.
Blago accomplished even less as a crook than he did as a governor. But on the other hand, a jury can show pity. If I were on the Blago jury it would occur to me that a vote to convict him might be the last time in his life he is treated as a competent adult.