To Karen Wojcieszak, it was clear pretty early in the second trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich that he had "manipulated the situation."
"He was so arrogant," said the 64-year-old Tinley Park resident. "Some of it was very black and white, where you could see he was quite guilty. … Other things, we had to kind of work through as a group."
The jury convicted Blagojevich Monday on 17 of 20 counts of corruption, including the charge of attempting to sell President Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat.
Wojcieszak said Tuesday that a turning point in the trial came on a melancholy, relatively boring day of testimony when a prosecuting lawyer asked Blagojevich, "Is it true you're a convicted liar?
"He was talking about the first trial last summer," Wojcieszak said, adding that he was convicted at that time of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. "We all kind of sat up in our seats. … I thought, 'Wow, isn't that somethin'?"
The jury of 11 women and one man listened to lengthy tapes of Blagojevich's conversations during the trial, and before finally coming to a consensus on the 10th day of deliberation, Wojcieszak said. This was the first time she has ever been selected as a member of a jury.
"I'd been called before, but never picked," she said, while standing outside her Tinley home beside her husband. "At first, it was a little nerve wracking. But after eight weeks, we really got into a groove."
Asked if she's angry about Blagojevich's actions, Wojcieszak sighed and shook her head in dismay.
"It just makes me wonder, are we the laughing stock of the U.S.?" she said. "He's like so many other Illinois politicians who took an oath to serve the people … He didn't come through. We have so many corrupt politicians here. Now, we officially have one more."
It's shame that Blagojevich had to join the state's line of crooked elected officials, she said, adding that he was just as charismatic as any politician she's seen speak.
"He seemed very personable," she said, of his demeanor while testifying. "I figured, he's a politician so he's used to talking. It was obvious he had manipulated the situation. But the way he carried himself and the way he talked … He seems like the kind of guy you'd sit down and have a drink with."