One fact about Chiakulas is that she used to be a counselor with the Chicago Urban League. That's potentially important because one of the people reportedly offered by Team Obama to Blagojevich as a possible candidate for the Senate seat was Cheryle Jackson, according to the previously redacted portion of Blagojevich's motion to subpoena Obama - a motion Judge Zagel denied. Spefically, item #19 in the motion points to a conversation between Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama in the president-elect's car on December 7th, 2008 in which Emanuel said he suggested Cheryle Jackson as candidate E.
[President’s Chief of Staff] suggested they might need an expanded list to possibly include names of African Americans that came out of the business world. [President’s Chief of Staff] thought he suggested Senate Candidate E who was the head of the Urban League and with President’s Chief of Staff’s suggestion." (President’s Chief of Staff, 302, 12-20-08).Both Jackson and Chiakulas worked at the Chicago Urban League, though Chiakulas left before Jackson got there. Did they know each other? If so, how well? HERE is a link to the audio / transcript of a call between Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff John Harris on December 4th, 2008 (Sessions 1334 & 1335) in which Blago makes clear his feelings about Cheryle Jackson, who also used to be his Communications Director.
Ace of Spades has done a lot of work on this one, posting a link to Juror Profiles that appeared on ABC News 7's website. HERE is Chiakulas's - also known as 'Juror 106' - profile.
Something else that should be cleared up, and fast. Big Hat Tip to Beachwood Reporter for this one. On June 4th, the Chicago News Cooperative reported that 'Juror 106' was not going to make the jury because of her having worked for the wife of Jesse Jackson Jr. at one time:
Jurors No. 106 and No. 126 won’t make the cut. No. 106 said she worked as a precinct captain to Sandi Jackson, the wife of Democratic Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., who has been subpoenaed by the defense. The woman brought out the heartiest chuckle from the courtroom crowd yesterday when Zagel asked if she had recalled seeing either Rod or Patti Blagojevich on television and she said that she had seen Patti on a reality show, “something about bugs.” The juror was referring to Patti’s appearance on NBC’s “I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here.”Incidentally, no one came off looking worse in this trial than Jesse Jackson Jr.
However, Blago-Report identified Juror #102 as the one who worked for Sandi Jackson. That said, take note of what they had to say about Juror #106 (Chiakulas) and Blagojevich's reaction to her during the selection process:
Juror #102 seemed rather eager to be on the jury and emphasized what a fair person she could be. Blagojevich was vigorously nodding while she was talking, and watching intently (as opposed to his usual head bowed, taking notes posture he adopted during most of the interviews). Her eagerness might make her a volatile juror for both sides, and the positive things that Blagojevich liked might make her a candidate for a peremptory challenge by the prosecution. Blagojevich also seemed to like juror #106—who did community work—and she could be another candidate for a prosecution dismissal.So Chiakulas was identified as a candidate likely to get the boot way back in early June, huh? It should have been rather obvious then - and beyond obvious now - that she shouldn't have been on that jury.
One last thing.
Blagojevich told ABC's Brian Ross that the Feds were squeezing him for information about bigger fish, seeming to imply that Fitzgerald was looking for dirt on Obama. Why should we believe Blago about that when the one charge he was convicted of was lying to the Feds? In any case, if that's true, it doesn't line up with how the trial played out.
If Fitzgerald wanted to get to Obama, why didn't they call Tony Rezko to the stand? I've said it before and I'll say it again. Something really stinks about this trial and when it comes to Obama and his administration, EVERYTHING fell their way. Now ask yourself if Blago is being honest here.
UPDATE: Upon seeing the conflict between the account of Daniel Libit at the Chicago News Cooperative - that Juror #106 once worked for Sandi Jackson - and Blago-Report's claim that it was Juror #102 that worked for Jackson, I emailed Libit asking him if he is standing by his claim. Here is a copy of his response:
Ben -When listening to today's broadcast from my show archives, please keep this development in mind.
I am led to believe that those other accounts are correct. Will be correcting the blog item ASAP.
On Aug 22, 2010, at 1:14 PM, Ben Barrack wrote:
On June 4th, you wrote that Juror #106 worked for Sandi Jackson, wife of Jesse Jackson Jr. That juror - Jo Ann Chiakulas - is the one who held out and got Blago off of all but one charge.
Do you stand by that? Other accounts say that distinction belonged to Juror #102 and that Chiakulas never worked for Sandi Jackson.
HERE is the link to Libit's original story.