"Celebrity Apprentice" Could Corrupt Federal Corruption Trial
Prosecutors are worried that whatever Gov. Rod Blagojevich might say on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice could taint the jury pool for his federal corruption trial, the Associated Press reports.
Celebrity Apprentice is scheduled to start June 3, around the same time jurors are being qualified for trial. Prosecutors told U.S. Disctrict Judge James B. Zagel Monday that anything Rod says about about the evidence could cause problems.
Since Rod was indicted on charges of scheming to trade or sell President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat he has "repeatedly commented on the evidence" while appearing on TV and radio shows, Attorney Reid Schar told Judge James.
The judge shared the same concern and told Rod's attorneys to arrange and show him an agreement with prosecutors that would allow Rod to appear on the show but prevent the comments that may cause concern.
James said that statements made by Rod about criminal charges he is facing could "create a certain amount of jeopardy for the defendant," and he added, "A problem that would cause me to have to make difficult judgments."
Defense attorney Samuel E. Adam told reporters it would be unfair to stop Rod from proclaiming his innocence in public. He also said the jury was already tainted by the strong language U.S. Attorney Patrick. J. Fitzgerald used in announcing his indictment. Patrick had said Rod's crimes would make, "Lincoln roll over in his grave."
Rod did not attend the hearing and was in New York last week taping the show. The show is scheduled to air in March.