One Naperville recently resident found herself in the middle of one of the most notorious trials of the decade. Connie Wilson was the jury foreperson for Rod Blagojevich’s retrial, a part of the jury that found the former Governor guilty on 17 of 20 charges.
Just a week before Wilson retired from her job as a choral director she received that dreaded piece of mail: She was summoned for jury duty. Wilson followed former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s first trial, so when she learned she’d be serving on the retrial, she felt overwhelmed.
“We knew what the outcome was, we knew that the jury struggled with what they were dealing with,” said Wilson. “You don’t know why, and you don’t see inside of that until you get in the process.
Wilson receives three newspapers a day to her Naperville home. But as a juror, she couldn’t read articles or watch news stories about the Blagojevich retrial. Her family would edit the paper for her to help keep her as unbiased as possible.
“If something was on television, ‘You have to leave the room! Don’t come in here!’” she said of her family.
The general public only saw short segments of the trial. As someone who saw it from start to end, Wilson had her own memories from the trial that stick with her.
“The day that the prosecution got up when Rod was on the stand and went after him with ‘You’re a convicted liar!’ Oh my goodness, it really woke the jury up! Because they changed tactics, you saw a very polished, businesslike prosecution and all of a sudden they were on the attack,” she said.
A wife and mother, Wilson says one of the hardest parts of the trial was reading the verdict as Patti Blagojevich cried in the courtroom.
“I can’t imagine how difficult that must be for the family,” said Wilson. “We all talked about that. Everybody had that feeling of here’s a family, but in the long run, you have to be responsible for your actions and he had to be responsible for his actions.”
Now that the trial’s over, Wilson hopes to get back to her retirement plans. She’s going to do some cleaning indoors, and spend some time outdoors in her garden.
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