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Illinois governor's lesbian sister-in-law may get jury trial

Illinois governor's lesbian sister-in-law may get jury trial

Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's lesbian sister-in-law, who is accused of using her body to ram a police lieutenant during a pro-gay marriage demonstration in downtown Chicago last month, has asked that her misdemeanor battery case be transferred to a court where she could request a jury trial. Deborah Mell, the daughter of Chicago alderman Richard Mell, was one of about 300 protesters who rallied outside the Cook County Administration Building to demand that Cook County clerk David Orr issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She was the only protester arrested after she allegedly lowered her head and shoulders "like a football player" and charged into a lieutenant, causing him to fall, police said. Mell's attorney, Joey Mogul, said the request to transfer the case was made because of prosecutors' decision to proceed with the case. "We wanted to leave our options open, if we decide to exercise our right to a jury trial," Mogul said. Mell is charged with battery causing bodily harm. If convicted, she faces up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Mell's public stance has put her at odds with Blagojevich. The governor has said that while he respects Mell's right to express her views, he does not support gay marriage.

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