Blago jurors deliberate; judge, attys talk money

August 5, 2010 6:04:48 AM PDT
Former governor Rod Blagojevich could lose more than his freedom if found guilty of corruption charges.Jurors, who are in their sixth day of deliberations, had no questions Wednesday.

While jurors conferred in another room, attorneys for Blagojevich and the prosecution met with Judge James Zagel to go discuss what would happen- monetarily- if the former governor is found guilty of the racketeering charge.

If there's a conviction on racketeering, the government can seek to confiscate what it considers to be ill-gotten gains. The Blagojevich indictment lists a number of things subject to possible forfeiture:

  • various personal bank accounts that the ex-governor and his wife maintain;
  • the Friends of Blagojevich campaign fund, which held more than $2 million in cash -- but no longer;
  • another $438,370. Prosecutors won't say what comprises that figure, but it is believed to include nearly $230,000 in real estate commissions received by Patti Blagojevich over a two-year period. Prosecutors have argued that that she did little or no work for that money.
  • a Washington DC condo owned by the Blagojevichs;
  • and their principle residence on Chicago's Northwest Side.
  • The government won't say what it would ask for in the event of a conviction, but it was decided Wednesday that prosecutors would make their argument to the jury-- not just the judge. That means the jury would decide what should be seized, giving the government a chance to introduce new forfeiture evidence.

    Former Illinois governor George Ryan was convicted of racketeering, but the government never sought to take his home. His campaign fund was indicted, convicted, and confiscated minus attorneys fees. The Blagojevich campaign fund is being used to pay attorneys fees.

    Blagojevich and his brother, Robert, have pleaded not guilty to corruption charges, including allegations of attempting to sell or trade an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama.


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