Rod Blagojevich, Guilty on One of 24 Counts
by Charles Lemos, Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 09:43:32 PM EDT
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was found guilty on one count of giving a false statement to federal agents but the jury couldn't reach a unanimous decision on the other 23 counts, including the count that he had attempted to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder.
More from the New York Times:
After deliberating for 14 days, the jury found Mr. Blagojevich guilty of a single criminal count — making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, one of the least severe penalties in the charges against him.
The jurors also said they could not reach a unanimous verdict on 23 of the 24 counts against him, including an accusation that he had tried to sell an appointment to fill the Senate seat once held by President Obama.
Prosecutors immediately announced plans for a retrial, but the outcome was seen as something of a victory, at least for now, for Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat and lifelong politician from this city, who had always proclaimed his innocence.
“We have a prosecutor who has wasted millions and wants to keep spending money to persecute me,” Mr. Blagojevich told a swarm of reporters in the lobby of the courthouse after the judge declared a mistrial on the bulk of charges against him, including racketeering, wire fraud and extortion conspiracy.
Mr. Blagojevich, who was awaited on the streets outside the court by a crowd of the curious, said the results — despite his single felony conviction — revealed that the government could not prove he had done anything wrong.
The judge in the case also said he intends to declare a mistrial on the undecided counts. Mr. Blagojevich may be innocent of a crime but he remains a rather odious and ethically challenged individual who should forswear any future bids for political office.