Stevens denies Blagojevich request for delay

May 28, 2010 (WASHINGTON)

The decision, written by Justice John Paul Stevens, means the trial will begin as planned on June 3.

The appeal to the high court was Blagojevich's last shot at delaying the start of the trial. The defense argued that the trial should not start until the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the "honest services" clause in federal law. That is a legal tool long used by prosecutors in public corruption cases, but its vagueness likely will result in the Supreme Court either re-writing it or throwing it out. YThe ex-governor's team had argued they should wait a few weeks until the court rules on "honest services."

Prosecutors said there is no need to wait. Blagojevich was re-indicted without "honest services" factored in, and on Friday afternoon, Justice John Paul Stevens agreed saying the trial will be allowed to move forward as scheduled.

Judge James Zagel will begin jury selection next Thursday, a process that will continue into the next week. It'll be followed by opening statements; the trial of the ex-governor is expected to last three to four months.

Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to charges he schemed to sell or trade President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat.

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