Mon June 27, 2011
Blagojevich guilty on 17 of 20 counts in corruption retrial
Updated 2:24 p.m. with verdict information:
A jury has convicted Rod Blagojevich of nearly all the corruption charges against him, including trying to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.
(See full list of charges and verdicts below with details)
Jurors delivered their verdicts Monday after deliberating nine days.
Blagojevich had faced 20 charges, including the Senate seat allegation and that he schemed to shake down executives for campaign donations. He was convicted on all charges regarding the Senate seat.
He testified for seven days, denying wrongdoing. Prosecutors said he lied and the proof was on FBI wiretaps. Those included a widely parodied clip in which Blagojevich calls the Senate opportunity "f------ golden."
Jurors in his first trial deadlocked on all but one charge, convicting Blagojevich of lying to the FBI.
Blagojevich already faces up to five years for the lying conviction.
Updated 12:26 p.m. with comment from current Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn via the Associated Press:
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn calls the jury system "really healthy" for democracy as a verdict is set to be read in the corruption trial of his ousted predecessor, Rod Blagoejvich.
Quinn used to be lieutenant governor, and he replaced Blagojevich when he was impeached in January 2009 after being arrested on federal corruption charges.
Original Story, posted 10:45 a.m.:
The jurors deliberating in the corruption trial of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich tell a judge they have reached a verdict on 18 of the 20 counts against him.
Attorneys in the case have agreed that the verdict should be read Monday. Judge James Zagel said that will happen in the afternoon (so stay tuned - we'll have an update for you here when it happens).
The jury had returned to the federal courthouse in Chicago on Monday after nine days of deliberations. They've been talking over the evidence in the case over a three-week period.
Blagojevich has denied all wrongdoing, including allegations that he sought to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.
List of charges, verdicts & details (via the Associated Press)
Jurors at Rod Blagojevich's corruption retrial decided on 20 counts against the former Illinois governor. The verdicts were read Monday. On the official verdict form, there's a box under each charge for the panelists to check "guilty" or "not guilty." The counts and decisions are:
GUILTY - Counts 1-10: WIRE FRAUD. Nearly all are related to the
allegation Blagojevich tried to sell or trade President Barack
Obama's old Senate seat. Each count carries a maximum 20-year
NO VERDICT - Count 11: ATTEMPTED EXTORTION. The alleged attempt
to force then-U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel's Hollywood agent brother to
hold a fundraiser for Blagojevich in exchange for releasing a
school grant. Maximum penalty of 20 years.
GUILTY - Count 12: ATTEMPTED EXTORTION. Alleged attempt to shake
down the CEO of Children's Memorial Hospital for a campaign
contribution. Maximum penalty of 20 years.
GUILTY - Count 13: SOLICITING A BRIBE. Shakedown of Children's
Memorial Hospital executive. Maximum penalty of 10 years.
GUILTY - Count 14: EXTORTION CONSPIRACY. Blagojevich allegedly
conspiring with an aide to shake down a racetrack executive for a
campaign contribution. Maximum penalty of 20 years.
GUILTY - Count 15: BRIBERY CONSPIRACY. Related to the alleged
shakedown of the racetrack executive. Maximum five-year sentence.
NO VERDICT - Count 16: ATTEMPTED EXTORTION. An attempt to shake
a road-building executive down for a contribution. Maximum penalty
of 20 years.
NOT GUILTY - Count 17: SOLICITING A BRIBE. Related to alleged
road-builder shakedown. Maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
GUILTY - Count 18: EXTORTION CONSPIRACY. Related to the Senate
seat. Maximum penalty of 20 years.
GUILTY - Count 19: ATTEMPTED EXTORTION. Related to the Senate
seat. Maximum penalty of 20 years.
GUILTY - Count 20: BRIBERY CONSPIRACY. Related to the Senate
seat. Maximum of 5 years.
Here's a timeline of Blagojevich's trials and tribulations from WBEZ:
A brief history of Illinois' Chief Executives and their legal misadventures
(via the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency)
The second trial of Illinois’ 40th Governor Rod Blagojevich has cast the spotlight on legal troubles that have plagued the state’s chief executives in the past. A summary of the more notable examples follows, as compiled by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and relying for reference on The Illinois Governors: Mostly Good and Competent by the late Robert P. Howard, and revised and updated by Taylor Pensoneau and Peggy Boyer Long.
Joel Matteson, 10thGovernor, Democrat, 1853 - 1857
The first legally embattled governor was Joel Aldrich Matteson, after whom the Village of Matteson in southern Cook County is named. During his term in 1856, he began redeeming outdated and/or previously redeemed canal scrip for state bonds. Matteson was discovered three years later, after his term as Governor was over. The subsequent court proceedings, including accusations of bribery and jury tampering, went on until 1863, when the Sangamon County Circuit Court declared Matteson owed the state more than $253,000. Matteson’s property was sold at auction to satisfy the judgment.
Len Small, 26thGovernor, Republican, 1921 - 1929
Governor Len Small was indicted in 1921 on charges that he ran a money laundering scheme during his tenure as State Treasurer. He was acquitted amid rumors of jury tampering; in fact, after the trial, four jurors received state jobs. Later, in 1927, a civil suit was brought against Small for the same money laundering scheme. He lost that case, and the judgment was more than $1 million, an amount that was reduced to $650,000 by Attorney General Oscar Carlstrom, whom Small had helped to elect in 1924.
William G. Stratton, 32ndGovernor, Republican, 1953 - 1961
William G. Stratton was indicted in 1964 on charges of violating income tax laws relating to political contributions during his term as Governor. He was acquitted during an expensive trial after defense witness Senator Everett M. Dirksen testified that governors have official ceremonial duties for which the unrestricted use of campaign fund contributions is justified. The U.S. Tax Court later agreed with the verdict, ruling that the Internal Revenue Service should not assess a tax on outright unrestricted gifts.
Otto Kerner, 33rdGovernor, Democrat, 1961 – 1968
Otto Kerner was convicted in 1973 on 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury and other charges relating to Illinois race track stock deals that occurred after his term in office. He was sentenced to three years in prison. The federal prosecutor in the case was James R. Thompson, who would later be elected Governor, and whose law firm would later defend another Illinois Governor, George H. Ryan.
Dan Walker, 36thGovernor, Democrat, 1973 – 1977
Dan Walker was convicted and sent to prison in 1987, ten years after leaving office, for misusing funds from his failed First American Savings and Loan Association of Oak Brook. The conviction was unrelated to his service as Governor.
George Ryan, 39thGovernor, Republican, 1999 - 2003
George Ryan is currently serving 6 ½ years in federal prison after he was convicted in 2006 by a federal jury of 18 counts of criminal misconduct, including a racketeering conspiracy, mostly related to his service as Illinois Secretary of State from 1990 to 1998.