Yesterday former Illinois governor Rob Blagojevich was found guilty of lying to FBI agents about his involvement in campaign fundraising. The jury could not agree on the remaining 23 felony counts brought against Blagojevich by the government, including charges of trying to profit from Obama’s former Senate seat.
Prosecutors intend on retrying Blagojevich on those 23 additional counts on which the deadlocked jury was unable to agree. Because the jury was unable to unanimously agree on those counts there was a mistrial regarding those counts. Legally this means that the former governor can be retried on them and still be found guilty. However, if the jury had found him not guilty on any counts, which it did not, then those felony charges would be barred from further prosecution.
The current conviction carries a maximum of five years in prison; however, the official sentencing is unlikely to occur before the retrial. If Blagojevich ends up being convicted of all the felony counts against him then he faces up to 415 years in prison and up to $6 million in fines.
While the defense plans on appealing Blagojevich’s one conviction, the government plans on pushing for a quick retrial, possibly as early as this coming fall. However, a quick conclusion does not seem likely given the lengthy initial trial and long jury deliberations.
Some critics of the government’s case have suggested that the lengthy jury review and the resulting hung jury could be the result of overly complicated jury instructions. The jury instructions on the 24 different counts were 125 pages long. And as evidenced by its inability to come to an unanimous decision on all but one of the felony charges, there was a lot of room for interpretation. This ambiguity seems to have benefited the defense more than the prosecution and has led to the need for another costly and lengthy trial.
While many Illinois residents are convinced of Blagojevich’s guilt, the former governor seems to be doing everything he can to drum up public sympathy and proclaim his innocence. Crowds milled outside the court house on a daily basis waiting to catch a glimpse of the former governor while the former governor campaigned his innocence, a campaign he will continue until a jury comes to an agreement on all the felony counts against Blagojevich.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois personal injury lawsuits for over 30 years, serving those areas in and around Chicago, including Arlington Heights, Darien, Roscoe Village, and Blue Island.
Bob Secter and Jeff Coen. “Blagojevich convicted on 1 of 24 counts.” The Chicago Tribune. August 17, 2010.
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