Blagojevich team motions again for Nov. trial date

July 21, 2010 9:07:44 AM PDT
Lawyers for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich say his corruption trial should be continued until November because his legal team will need to prepare a new defense strategy in case the US Supreme Court rules to limit or throw out the controversial "honest services" law. "The preparation of a defense to the charges, including an opening statement, is entirely different," wrote attorney Sam Adams responding to the government's claim that the "underlying evidence to be presented at trial will be the same" whether the honest services fraud law charges remain or are dismissed.

Blagojevich is charged with conspiring to sell the US Senate seat that was vacated by President Barack Obama among other abuses of his office. The Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling on the "honest services" law early this summer.

In February, a federal grand jury brought eight new charges against the former governor and his brother to avoid problems with the disputed law now in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. If the "honest services" statute is thrown out, prosecutors will be able to continue prosecution but the bribery and extortion charges will be more difficult to prove.

To describe the difficulty is creating a defense for the "honest services" law while waiting for the US Supreme Court's decision, Adams quoted Justice Antonin Scalia, "If the Justice Department can't figure out what is embraced by this statute, I don't know how you expect the average citizen to figure it out."

In today's court filing, Adams noted that a Washington D.C. US District Court judge delayed a retrial until the Supreme Court acts. Adams contends, as he has in prior motions, that the case should be postponed to give the defense the time needed to go through the large amount of documents and materials in the case.

The issue will go before US District Court Judge James Zagel Wednesday at 11am.

Click here to read the court document. Note: Registration is required


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