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AP Does Not Mention Party In Blago Verdict

From the Associated Press:

Jury convicts former Illinois governor in retrial

By MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press
June 26, 2011

CHICAGO (AP) — Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been convicted of 17 of the 20 charges against him, many related to his attempt to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat.

Jurors deadlocked on one charge of attempted extortion in an alleged shakedown involving funding for a school in the district of then-Congressman Rahm Emanuel.

The jury found Blagojevich not guilty of soliciting bribes in the alleged shakedown of a road-building executive. The panel deadlocked on a charge of attempted extortion on that same case.

Blagojevich rode his talkative "everyman" image to two terms as Illinois governor before scandal made him the object of national jokes.

Because the allegations had to do with Obama’s Senate seat — and because Blagojevich never hesitated to talk about himself when media cameras were around — the case attracted national attention.

The verdict was a bitter defeat for Blagojevich, who had spent 2½ years professing his innocence on reality TV shows and later on the witness stand.

His defense team had insisted that hours of FBI wiretap recordings were just the ramblings of a politician who liked to think out loud. He faces up to 300 years in prison, although sentencing guidelines are sure to reduce his time behind bars.

He also faces up to five additional years in prison for his previous conviction of lying to the FBI.

After hearing the verdict, Blagojevich turned to defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky and asked "What happened?" His wife, Patti, slumped against her brother, then rushed into her husband’s arms.

The former governor spoke only briefly with reporters as he left the courthouse, saying he was disappointed and stunned by the verdict.

"Well, among the many lessons I’ve learned from this whole experience is to try to speak a little bit less, so I’m going to keep my remarks kind of short," Blagojevich said, adding that the couple wanted "to get home to our little girls and talk to them and explain things to them and then try to sort things out."

Monday’s decision capped a long-running spectacle in which Blagojevich became famous for blurting on a recorded phone call that his ability to appoint Obama’s successor to the Senate was "f—ing golden" and that he wouldn’t let it go "for f—ing nothing."

Judge James Zagel has ruled that Blagojevich will be barred from travelling outside the area without permission from the judge. A status hearing for sentencing was set for Aug. 1.

The case exploded into scandal when Blagojevich was awakened by federal agents on Dec. 9, 2008, at his Chicago home and was led away in handcuffs. Federal prosecutors had been investigating his administration for years, and some of his closest cronies had already been convicted.

Blagojevich, who was also accused of shaking down businessmen for campaign contributions, was swiftly impeached and removed from office.

The verdict provided affirmation to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, one of the nation’s most prominent prosecutors, who, after the governor’s arrest, had condemned Blagojevich’s dealings as a "political crime spree."

"The jury sent a loud and clear message that Governor Blagojevich committed very serious crimes shaking down a children’s hospital, trying to sell a Senate seat and demanding cash campaign contributions in advance before signing a bill," Fitzgerald said. "This is a bittersweet moment."

The first jury deadlocked on all but the least serious of 24 charges against him.

This time, the 12 jurors voted to convict the 54-year-old Blagojevich on most counts after deliberating nine days.

After his arrest, Blagojevich called federal prosecutors "cowards and liars" and challenged Fitzgerald to face him in court if he was "man enough."

In what many saw as embarrassing indignities for a former governor, he sent his wife to the jungle for a reality television show, "I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here," where she had to eat a tarantula.

He later showed his own ineptitude at simple office skills before being fired on Donald Trump’s "Celebrity Apprentice."

To most Illinois residents, he was a reminder of the corruption that has plagued the state for decades.

Blagojevich seemed to believe he could talk his way out of trouble from the witness stand. Indignant one minute, laughing the next, seemingly in tears once, he endeavored to counteract the blunt, greedy man he appeared to be on FBI wiretaps. He apologized to jurors for the four-letter words that peppered the recordings.

"When I hear myself swearing like that, I am an F-ing jerk," he told jurors.

Other times, when a prosecutor read wiretap transcripts where Blagojevich seems to speak clearly of trading the Senate seat for a job, Blagojevich told jurors, "I see what I say here, but that’s not what I meant."

The government offered a starkly different assessment to jurors: Blagojevich was a liar, and had continued to lie, over and over, to their faces.

Perhaps they thought it went without saying.

But somehow they never missed mentioning the party affiliation when it’s a Republican culprit.

(Thanks to Jim Wilson for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, June 27th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “AP Does Not Mention Party In Blago Verdict”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    This is so … unwexpected

  2. heykev says:

    Being from Illinois, this verdict was never in doubt. Just if they could find a jury would follow the law – is always tough here.

    It would be nice to see them go after those who help cover for Blago for 6 years accountable. Petty much everyone in this state is corrupt.

    Example: The governor raises our taxes 67% and gives his spokeswoman a huge 47% raise. Nowhere but Illinois does this happen.

    • The Redneck says:

      Having lived in Illinois myself, I got to disagree.

      That he’s guilty is not in doubt–but that some little advantage like overwhelming proof would be enough to actually convict him…. that’s a different matter.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    When Hambone is de-elected in 2012, one of his parting shots to the conservatives will be to pardon this scumbag.

  4. Right of the People says:

    It’s about f**king time this f**king scumbag was f**king convicted.

    I’m still surprised he didn’t take Spike down with him. Probably afraid Spike would pull a Clinton on him.

  5. P. Aaron says:

    If he would’ve been acquitted that’s when party affiliation matters to the liberal press.


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