I was talking with a friend of mine who happens to be a security guard, and he burst out laughing when I told him that printed tickets were required to attend ex-governor Rod Blagojevich's trial.
"What do they think this is?" he asked. "A trial or a show?"
I had to agree. I have never before been asked for a ticket to get into a courtroom. Never. Ever. Not at the trial of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, going on at the same time as Blago's in the same courthouse. Not at the the trial of five mobsters at the "Family Secrets" trial three years ago. Also at the same federal courthouse.
For security purposes, you are required to go through a metal detector. In the lobby. Then sometimes, as in Burge's trial, a second detector awaits upstairs right before you enter the courtroom. Your purse, if you have one, is put on a conveyor belt which goes through an X-ray machine. I noticed that Blagojevich was asked to remove his belt as part of the screening process. But tickets?
Before the judge suggested that Blago tone it down with his out-of courtroom remarks, he was heard bragging that unlike the rest of us suckers, he didn't need a ticket to get in. He didn't actually call us "suckers." He just implied it with the tone of his voice, the arch of his brow, the wave of his locks.
There's been a lot of implying going on in this trial. And signifying. And speechifying. But is that enough to get a conviction? What hasn't been going on is a money trail. Lots about Blago and the missus, spending money. But not about them getting money. No wonder they're broke.
Where is their money going? To clothes, clothes, clothes. Didn't know Blago was such a metrosexual, or whatever that fancy New York fashionista term is for guys who know what labels they are wearing. Lots about how those two have been spending away their daughter's future college tuition money on clothes, clothes, clothes. For themselves. But is it a crime?
Finally, Patti let it out that she now shops at discounter Marshall's -- her response in the courthouse ladies' room when she was complimented about her four-inch high black patent leather heels. I was reminded of that Chicago musical, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, and why the nuns disapproved of them. You figure it out... I'm not telling.
How much are these Blago tickets to the greatest show on earth costing us taxpayers anyway? New color coded tickets are printed each day of the months-long trial. Are they at least made from recycled paper? I mean, are they environmentally correct? More importantly perhaps, are they politically correct? Are they made with union labor?
What do they do with those tickets at the end of the day, anyway, since the public is not allowed to keep them? Believe me, I tried and got yelled at for wanting a "souvenir," as the marshals called it. Will they be re-appearing on eBay? How much could you get for a Blago ticket on eBay? Hard to tell at this point.
Thank goodness there have been no reports of any Blago ticket scalping. Yet. But this is Chicago, so just wait. This could open up a whole new area of prosecution. The unauthorized sale of Blago tickets. Especially since they're free, if you can get one. Only 32 tickets are available for the public each day, and one of those seats goes to a rotating law student from Governor Quinn's office, whose unpaid job is to take notes daily.
But is this really the greatest show on earth? Still waiting for the part where Blago actually gets someone to give him the money. Or at least show him the money. Maybe Cuba Gooding, Jr. or Tom Cruise could school Blago as in Jerry Maguire. All I can say is if the prosecution plans to rest its case within two weeks as is being reported, somebody better show somebody the money being exchanged, pretty darn quick!
Lonna Saunders is a Chicago attorney.
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