October 20, 2009 03:35:57 GMT
Prosecutors in his corruption case are afraid that jury will have a different perspective of him after watching the reality show.
Although he has shot his part on "The Celebrity Apprentice", former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich may not make it to the show after all. On Monday, October 19, the day that the production was supposed to start, it is reported that federal prosecutors are trying to prevent him from being in the show in fear of a slip of tongue.
Blagojevich is in the middle of a federal corruption case for allegedly scheming to sell or trade President Barack Obama's former U.S. senate seat for campaign money. He has pleaded not guilty and trial is expected to be conducted in Chicago on June 3. Prosecutors are afraid that a TV role before the trial will taint the jury pool.
U.S. District Judge James Zagel who is taking charge of the trial is also leaning toward the banning. "It is possible that an indicted person may say something that creates problems later on," Zagel said. Prosecutor Reid Schar said that Blagojevich had previously discussed evidence on TV appearances.
In a response, Blagojevich's defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. said, "This is a little mystifying. This is the first time I have ever heard of a law enforcement official coming into court and saying: 'Judge shut the defendant up'."
Indeed, this is not the first time Blagojevich is prohibited from joining a reality show. In April, Zagel blocked him from going to Costa Rica to film "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!". His wife Patty substituted for him eventually.
The third season of "The Celebrity Apprentice" has begun taping the promotional footage for the show last week. Cast including Sharon Osbourne, Cyndi Lauper, Bret Michaels, Curtis Stone and Blagojevich himself were spotted in the meatpacking district in New York City to film the opening sequence.
Update: Zagel has ordered prosecutors to work out an agreement with Blagojevich's lawyers to allow him competing in the show. However, the politician may not mention anything about his case.