Jury: Blagojevich Guilty On One Count
A federal jury found former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich guilty on Tuesday of one count of lying to federal agents, and the judge said he intends to declare a mistrial on the remaining counts.
Rod Blagojevich showed no emotion as the verdict was read, neither smiling nor grimacing.
Prosecutors said immediately after the verdict was read that they intend to retry the case against Blagojevich and his co-defendant brother as soon as possible. He had faced 24 counts in all, including charges that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat.
His brother, Nashville, Tenn., businessman Robert Blagojevich, had faced charges associated with that alleged scheme as well. CBS Station WBBM in Chicago reports the jury announced it was hung on all four counts against the former governor’s brother Robert.
Judge James B. Zagel set a hearing for Aug. 26 to decide manner and timing of their retrial.
The count on which Blagojevich was found guilty included accusations that he lied to federal agents when he said he did not track campaign contributions and kept a “firewall” between political campaigns and government work. It carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.
Before jurors came in, a somber-looking Blagojevich sat with his hands folded, looking down, picking nervously at his fingernails. After the verdict was read, defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. rubbed his own forehead and mouth, appearing to shake his head in disgust.
The verdict came on the 14th day of deliberations. Jurors had asked earlier Tuesday for advice on filling out their verdict forms and a copy of the oath they took before deliberating.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was in the main courtroom for the first time since the trial began. He sat at the end of a spectator’s bench near a wall on the opposite side of the room from Blagojevich, his hands folded across court documents. He looked on blank-faced as the verdict was read. His team of young prosecutors reflected the same mood, also looking on impassively.
It had been clear that jurors were struggling. Last week, they told Zagel they had reached a unanimous decision on just two counts and had not even considered 11 others. There was no immediate explanation about whether they later disagreed.
Jurors appeared more haggard than they did during the trial. As they filed into the courtroom, many appeared nervous, some looking down at the ground as Zagel read the verdict form to himself first, then passed it on to a bailiff. They had asked earlier Tuesday for advice on filling out their verdict forms and a copy of the oath they took before deliberating.
Zagel said Blagojevich’s bond will stay the same.
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