Plenty of people in Illinois -- not least the Democratic politicians running for office in November -- would love for Rod Blagojevich to go away quickly and quietly.
No one should be optimistic about the "quietly" part. And the news keeps getting worse for "quickly" fans, too: sources close to the case say that Judge James Zagel is considering waiting until early 2011 for Blagojevich's retrial.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Zagel was hoping to avoid a "Christmas burden" for jurors, and would push the trial back to "January at the earliest."
That decision may well wind up as a November burden for incumbent Governor Pat Quinn, who is trailing his Republican opponent Bill Brady in the polls. Quinn was Blago's lieutenant governor, and assumed the executive role when his old boss was impeached. His ties to Blagojevich have been fodder for his opponent throughout the campaign, whose TV ads often refer to the state's struggles as having taken place in "the Blagojevich/Quinn administration."
But the January trial of the former governor will likely have a different look to it, at least at the defendant's table. Judge Zagel suggested that Blagojevich will be offered two court-appointed attorneys to represent him.
The first time around, Blago used his campaign funds -- nearly $3 million of them -- to pay a team of seven lawyers. Five separate defense attorneys questioned witnesses at this summer's trial, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In the retrial, though, where the 23 counts the jury was unable to resolve will be re-argued, Blagojevich will have to make do with just two lawyers. Because he's out of campaign cash, his defense this time around will be funded by taxpayer dollars.