Blagojevich Found Guilty On Nearly All Counts
Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted on 17 counts by jury in Chicago, including all 11 counts related to an attempt to sell Pres. Obama's former Senate seat.
The jury was unanimous on 18 of the 20 counts against the former governor after ten days of deliberation. They found Blagojevich not guilty on one charge of bribery and were unable to reach a decision the other two counts, both charges of attempted extortion.
The convictions on 10 counts of wire fraud, 2 counts of attempted extortion, one count of bribery, two counts of extortion conspiracy and two counts of bribery conspiracy hold a maximum jail sentence of 300 years in prison.
As he left his home earlier this afternoon, Blagojevich told reporters that he was nervous. "My hands are shaking, my knees are weak, I can barely stand on my own two feet," Blagojevich said. "It's in God's hands now."
In the original trial last year, the jury was hung on all but one of 24 counts against Blagojevich and found him guilty on the single charge of lying to the FBI. He has not yet been sentenced on the charge and faces up to five years in prison on that count alone.
The retrial began April 20. Following complaints from jurors in the first trial that the charges were confusing, the government significantly pared down their case, dropping complicated racketeering charges. The defense also changed their strategy this time around, allowing Blagojevich to take the stand in his own defense. Before the first trial began, Blagojevich had promised to testify on his own behalf, but later decided against it.