Blagojevich gets VIP access to court
December 6, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Rod Blagojevich avoided the Dirksen Federal Building's version of the red carpet Tuesday morning, complete with flash photography and a few fans, when he was allowed to use a private entrance to the courthouse.
Judge James Zagel ordered the special treatment with the hope of keeping courthouse disruptions to a minimum, a U.S. Marshal's spokesman tells ABC 7.
Blagojevich came and went through the lobby of the federal building during every day of his two trials. Convicted former Governor George Ryan also came and went through the public lobby every day of his seven month trial only to get the private perk on his sentencing day as well. At the time, Judge James Holderman cited unspecified "security concerns" as his reason for allowing Ryan special access that avoided the public and press.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. also received access to the courthouse's private entrance when they were called to testify in the Blagojevich case. However, they were not charged let alone convicted of public corruption.
Michael Jordan also received the VIP underground treatment in 2000 during a lawsuit involving Jordan and his former partners in a now shuttered namesake restaurant.
In 1984 pop star Michael Jackson also ducked the crowds and cameras by using the judge's entrance to the federal courthouse. He was in town for a lyrics plagiarism case.
Federal judges also frequently allow jurors to leave through an underground exit during high-profile cases.
politics, ben bradley
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