Case dismissed against Robert Blagojevich

August 27, 2010 4:35:10 AM PDT
All charges have been dropped against the brother oaf Rod Blagojevich so prosecutors can focus their case on the former governor during the retrial.

"I could not have gotten through it without a wonderful wife, a great son, an incredible legal team," Robert Blagojevich, the former governor's brother, said Thursday.

ATTORNEYS' PRESS CONFERENCES: Rod Blagojevich's lawyers talk | Robert Blagojevich's lawyer talks

The retrial for impeached Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is set for the first week in January. Judge James Zagel ruled he will allow public funds to pay for two lawyers and a paralegal as Blagojevich's defense. The former governor said he is broke after depleting his campaign fund to pay attorneys in the first trial- where Blagojevich was found guilty on one count of lying to the FBI. The jury was hung on 23 other counts against the former governor and all four counts against his brother.

"My position has been all along that I didn't do something wrong and I know I did nothing wrong," said Robert Blagojevich.

Robert Blagojevich has now recovered the freedom that he says was stolen from him when he was indicted along with his brother. The government had alleged that Robert conspired with the ex-governor to strong arm campaign contributions. But some of the jurors - in their post verdict comments - felt strongly that Robert was not part of the scheme. And on one of the four felony counts against him, jurors voted 9-3 to acquit.

"I think the government came to the conclusion, how do we win? Getting a hung jury against Rob is not a win, particularly a second one. So they made the right tactical move. And I think it was the fair move," said Patrick Collins, former asst. U.S. Attorney/Perkins-Coie.

"He's a very sympathetic figure," said Prof. Leonard Cavise, DePaul College of Law.

In court Thursday, prosecutors said they dropped the case against Robert because of the 'disparity in roles' between the brothers and in 'the interest of justice.'

"What happened to my brother never should have happened. I can't begin to tell you how happy I am for my brother and his family that this nightmare for them is finally over," said Rod Blagojevich.

The case against the former governor moves forward and is tentatively scheduled to begin the first week of January. Judge Zagel said setting an earlier date would have put deliberations on a collision course with the holidays so it's better to wait.

The former governor -- who is now back on the talk show circuit -- must demonstrate to the court that he is no longer able to pay for his defense. If that is the case, the judge is bound by federal public defender rules to allow no more than two lawyers to be paid by the public for representing Blagojevich. The legal team for the first trial- Sam Adam Sr. and Sam Adam Jr.- used half a dozens lawyers.

"Nobody has withdrawn. Nobody has gotten out of the case. Any news reports to that effect are not correct," said Sam Adam Sr., Rod Blagojevich Attorney

Sam Adam Sr. says he and his son have not left the case - despite earlier hints that they would be, but no one is certain yet how the defense team gets pared down to two people, and who will they be?

"What we're gonna do is we're gonna meet with the governor and decide what's best for him. That's the only decision that's important," said Adam.

Robert Blagojevich could now be subpoenaed to testify for either side in the case against his brother.

Attorneys for the former governor will appear in court next on September 9 at noon.


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