Blagojevich guilty on 17 of 20 counts

Former governor Rod Blagojevich said he was "frankly stunned" after a jury convicted him on 17 of 20 counts in his second corruption retrial.
June 27, 2011 1:13:33 PM PDT
Former governor Rod Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 of 20 counts in his second corruption trial. The jury found him not guilty on one count and was hung on two others.

The foreman of the jury read the counts, one-by-one. Jurors were hung on counts 11 and 16; and Blagojevich was found not guilty on count 17.

Blagojevich, 54, faced 20 counts ranging from conspiracy to soliciting a bribe to wire fraud. Jurors were hung on two of those counts.

Before the verdict was read, Blagojevich said, "It's in God's hands," as he left his Ravenswood Manor home. 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, who was with his wife, Patti, greeted court watchers outside the Dirksen Federal Building with hugs and handshakes. Crowds gathered to hear the verdict, and a second overflow room was set up because so many people showed up Monday afternoon.

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."

Jury "confident" no verdict could be reached in 2 counts

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, faced 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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