Verdict Reached in Corruption Retrial of Former Illinois Gov. Ro - FOX 32 News Chicago

Verdict Reached in Corruption Retrial of Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich



On their 10th day of deliberation, jurors in the corruption retrial of former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich informed the court they had reached a verdict Monday: guilty on 17 counts, not guilty on one, and hung on two others.

"My hands are shaking, my knees are weak, and I can't seem to stand on my own two feet," Blagojevich said as he left his house. He arrived at the courthouse with his wife, Patti, at 1:20 p.m.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who made headlines around the world with his comment that Blagojevich's behavior would have "Abraham Lincoln rolling in his grave," was also in the courtroom to hear the verdict.

In their two weeks of deliberations, the jury has given very little indication of how it was going.  They asked only two questions of the judge: one about extra pages of transcripts in some of their evidence binders and one about what constitutes "material concealment" on the wire fraud charges of the indictment. 

Counts one through 10 of the indictment are wire fraud, nine of which refer to the charge that Blagojevich attempted to sell the senate seat of President Barack Obama. The judge told the jury to refer more closely to their instructions and ask another question if they were confused about a specific word.  Since then, June 16, the jury had not been heard from before announcing they had reached a verdict.  They chose not to work last Friday, taking a long weekend.

The counts with which Blagojevich is charged span five alleged shakedowns. They involved: the alleged sale of Barack Obama's former Senate seat; the alleged shakedown of the CEO of Children's Memorial Hospital for campaign donations; the alleged shakedown of racetrack owner John Johnston for campain donations; the alleged shakedown of a road-building executive in exchange for an Illinois Tollway project; and the alleged attempt to get Rahm Emanuel's brother to hold a fundraiser for Blagojevich in exchange for a grant for the Chicago Academy.

At his first trial, Blagojevich was found guilty on one count of lying to the FBI, which carries a maximum five-year sentence. Judge James Zagel will sentence Blagojevich on all counts on which he is found guilty after his retrial is resolved, and Zagel can take all charges into account when he delivers his sentence.

Experts say, Blagojevich will likely not be taken into custody Monday. Since he is not a flight threat, especially given his fame, he will likely be released until sentencing.

Jurors in Blagojevich’s first trial deliberated for 14 days before returning one verdict and declaring they could not reach agreement on 23 counts. Many jurors said the case was overly complicated, so for this trial, the prosecution streamlined its case and limited the indictment to 20 counts.

There was also a significant change in personnel for Blagojevich from the first trial to the second. Since Blagojevich spent his campaign fund to pay for 14 attorneys in the first trial, he was limited to two attorneys and one paralegal paid for by the court for the second. Sheldon Sorosky and Aaron Goldstein returned on the defense team, but veteran, fiery attorney Sam Adam Jr. and his father, Sam Adam Sr., were not part of Blagojevich’s defense.

Based on a media frenzy around the jurors’ identities after the first trial, Judge Zagel said he wanted to withhold releasing juror names this time around. He had suggested he might pass out ‘no trespassing’ signs to jurors for their homes, and he won’t release their names until 9 a.m. the day after proceedings wrap.

After the first trial, there was significant attention paid to the so-called “holdout juror,” the lone juror who wanted to declare Blagojevich not guilty on counts of selling the senate seat.

Verdict Reached in Blagojevich Trial | Originally reported by:

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