Rod R. Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, has been found guilty of wide range of corruption charges including wire fraud, bribery, attempted extortion, extortion and bribery conspiracy, and of trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat in exchange for personal gain. A jury deliberated for 10 days and convicted the former governor of 17 criminal charges and deadlocked on two counts of attempted extortion. A jury acquitted him of one charge of soliciting bribes in the alleged extortion of a road-building executive. The most serious criminal charges for which he has been convicted carries the maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison, and he is also facing up to five additional years in prison for his previous conviction of lying to the FBI.
This is Blagojevich’s second trial on charges related to his unsuccessful attempts to personally benefit from his role in selecting a replacement for President Obama in the United States Senate. In the first trial that lasted for two months, a jury deadlocked on 23 of the 24 charges. It appeared that the prosecution’s case-in-chief was too complex and confusing for the jury to understand and grasp its true meaning. As a result, during the second trial the prosecution offered less evidence and boiled-down the entire case to one simple message: Mr. Blagojevich was guilty because he sought personal benefit for public acts. Blagojevich’s main defense strategy was to argue to the jury that he was just a “big talker,” and that he did not personally benefit from any of this conduct.
However, Blagojevich’s defense team failed to counter the prosecution’s argument based upon the court-authorized wiretaps that caught Blagojevich offering Obama’s Senate seat in exchange for personal gain, including a job with a nonprofit or union organization, campaign contributions, corporate board posts for his wife, or a post in Obama’s administration. The FBI had been investigating Blagojevich’s administration for several years, and gathered over 100 hours of recorded conversations that proved to be the most damaging piece of evidence against the former Illinois governor. After the verdict was read, a federal district court judge prohibited Blagojevich from traveling outside the state without the court’s permission. The court also set a status hearing to discuss Blagojevich’s sentencing for August 1, 2011.
The San Diego Law Office of Domenic J. Lombardo is dedicated to defending criminal charges in state, federal, and county courts throughout San Diego. For a free consultation, contact us at (619) 232-5122, or: [email protected].
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