Blagojevich at courthouse, awaiting verdict

June 27, 2011 12:12:36 PM PDT
Former governor Rod Blagojevich is at the Dirksen Federal Building, where he will learn his fate Monday afternoon. Jurors reached a verdict in his corruption trial; they are unanimous in 18 of 20 counts against him.

"It's in God's hands," Blagojevich said leaving his Ravenswood Manor home Monday. He then quoted an Elvis song, "All Shook Up," saying, "My hands are shaking, my knees are weak. I can't seem to stand on my own two feet."

Blagojevich greeted court watchers with hugs and shook hands as he walked into the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

Blagojevich's publicist, Glenn Selig, told ABC 7 via email, "There is no one word to accurately describe what the governor is feeling right now. It's a nearly 3 year journey that's come down to this. There are clearly many emotions involved. We are taking things minute by minute now."

The verdict is expected to be read at 1 or 2 p.m. Monday. ABC7 News will break into programming for the verdict; Watch it live on ABC7Chicago.com

Judge James Zagel read the note from the jury foreman in court Monday morning that indicated "the jury has come to a decision on 18 of the 20 counts" against the former governor and were "confident" they could not reach agreement on the remaining two counts-- even with further deliberations. Judge Zagel then asked the defense and prosecution if they were OK with the fact jurors had not reached agreement on all counts. Both agreed it was fine.

Prosecutor Reid Schar said they have "good faith in the effort" of jurors.

Blagojevich, 54, faces 20 counts ranging from conspiracy to soliciting a bribe to wire fraud. He is accused of trying to trade or sell an appointment to the U.S. Senate for his personal gain and squeezing executives for campaign donations in exchange for state business. He denies any wrongdoing.

The charges against Blagojevich can be broken down into five alleged schemes: exchange of the U.S. Senate seat for personal gain; and fundraising shakedowns against a hospital CEO , the state tollway, a horseracing executive and a grant for Chicago Schools. Half the counts are wire fraud, which requires the government to prove Blagojevich wasn't just talking, but took further actions by placing phone calls.

This is the former governor's second corruption trial. Last year, jurors found Blagojevich guilty of lying to the FBI, one of 24 charges he faced. They were deadlocked on 23 others, in part due to a single juror.

Eleven women and one man make up this second jury. Deliberations began on June 10 after six weeks of testimony in the streamlined case.

Unlike the first trial, Blagojevich testified in his own defense. He spent one week on the stand, often giving longwinded answers to yes and no questions. His defense attorneys argued the former governor talked a lot but never did anything wrong.

Prosecutors likened the case to that of a police officer asking for a bribe, saying "The harm is done when 'the ask' is made..."


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