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Rod Blagojevich judge: Will step in if lawyer goes too far

Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial judge is warning the ousted Illinois governor's attorney to avoid mentioning witnesses the government didn't call.

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich talks with Darrell Murphy as he arrives at the Federal Court building for closing arguments in his federal corruption trial Tuesday, July 27 in Chicago.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

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The judge at Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial again is warning the ousted Illinois governor's attorney to avoid mentioning in closing arguments witnesses the government didn't call.

Judge James B. Zagel said Tuesday he'll try to avoid intervening but will do so if attorney Sam Adam Jr. goes too far. The two had clashed on the same issue Monday and Zagel ended court early.

Zagel said it was clearly the defense strategy all along to not call witnesses, then blame the government for not calling some potential witnesses. Prosecutors say they didn't promise any witnesses.

Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to charges including scheming to sell an appointment to President Barack Obama's old Senate seat. His defense called no witnesses, though Blagojevich had pledged to testify.

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