Gov't: Blagojevich appeal is 'frivolous'

July 21, 2010 8:44:52 AM PDT
Federal prosecutors are asking Judge James Zagel to rule former Governor Rod Blagojevich's latest appeal as "frivolous" to keep his fraud trial on track for a June 3 start date.

On Monday morning, the government requested that Judge Zagel "certify" that Blagojevich's defense team's May 7 Seventh Circuit appeal be ruled "frivolous and retain jurisdiction over pretrial matters."

Blagojevich's attorneys are appealing Zagel's previous ruling that the trial can begin even though the Supreme Court has yet to rule on the "honest services" fraud theory. "Honest services" fraud charges that the public or the government was deprived of the right to have public officials perform their duties honestly. The government contends in the Seventh Circuit "a district court may proceed with trial if an appeal is frivolously filed."

Blagojevich was re-indicted in February, but the new 24-count indictment does not rely on the "honest services" statute.