Published: Jun 08, 2010 1:46 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 08, 2010 9:42 AM EDT

CHICAGO (AP) - Rod Blagojevich's fiery attorney will assume

center stage at his corruption trial Tuesday, when both the defense

and prosecutors are set to give their version of events that saw

the former governor charged with trying to sell or trade President

Barack Obama's former Senate seat.

Sam Adam Jr., only in his mid-30s, already has gained a

reputation as a theatrical courtroom orator whose shouting,

whispering, table-pounding closing argument preceded R&B singer R.

Kelly's acquittal on child pornography charges two years ago.

"Connect with the jury and tell the story," Adam told a

reporter Monday about one of his guiding rules of good opening

statements.

Brevity doesn't appear to be among the others. Adam told U.S.

Judge James Zagel the opening statement he planned to deliver

regarding the fraud and racketeering charges against Blagojevich

could run two and a half hours.

The no-nonsense Zagel, who has given the impression in three

days of jury selection that he doesn't want proceedings to drag on

unnecessarily, responded that he would give Adam an hour and 45

minutes.

Prosecutors, in contrast, are expected to favor a

just-the-facts-ma'am style - laying out their arguments to jurors

as well as playing hours of wiretap recordings in cool, calm

confidence.

They also expect to be comparatively succinct in their opening,

telling Zagel they would need about an hour to address the 12

jurors and several alternates, who are expected to be seated

Tuesday morning.

Blagojevich, 53, has pleaded not guilty to trying to profit from

his power to fill the Senate seat. He also denies that he plotted

to turn his power as governor into a moneymaking scheme for himself

and insiders.

His co-defendant - and brother - Robert Blagojevich, 54, a

Nashville, Tenn., businessman, has pleaded not guilty to taking

part in the alleged plan to sell the Senate seat and plotting to

illegally squeeze a racetrack owner for a hefty contribution to the

Blagojevich campaign fund.

It was Adam's defense of R. Kelly that sent his stock soaring in

legal circles. Jurors appeared rapt as they listened to his

emotion-filled, apparently decisive closing. He banged on the

jury's box with his fist, he laughed and pleaded for jurors to

acquit his superstar client.

He said after court that he expected to be just as emotional and

energetic in his opening statement for Blagojevich.

"I don't know anything else," he said. "I'll be sweating,

I'll be moving."

That could offer a sharp contrast to federal prosecutor Carrie

E. Hamilton, a cool and methodical veteran prosecutor who

nevertheless opened the trial of Tony Rezko, one of Blagojevich's

top fundraisers, memorably by describing him as "the man behind

the curtain, pulling the strings." Rezko was convicted of fraud

and other offenses.

Lead prosecutor Reid Schar told Zagel that defense attorneys

have been telling reporters various theories of Blagojevich's

defense that violate orders the judge has already issued limiting

what jurors can be told. Such limits are normal and designed to

ensure fairness.

Schar warned that if defense attorneys go over the line he will

cut in immediately.

"If it heads in that direction, judge, obviously we will

object, Schar said.

Over the last three days, Zagel and the attorneys have whittled

away at the large jury pool, with Zagel dismissing potential jurors

on a variety of grounds. About 50 candidates remain. Zagel said he

plans to seat a jury Tuesday morning, with opening statements

immediately afterward.