Blago lawyers file motion to cancel retrial

March 10, 2011 4:28:47 AM PST
Rod Blagojevich's lawyers are asking a judge to cancel the ex-governor's retrial and sentence him immediately on the sole conviction from his first trial.

The former governor's retrial is scheduled for next month.

The five-page motion filed early Wednesday indicates Blagojevich is not conceding any guilt, including on the conviction of lying to the FBI, which was the only count that jurors could agree on last year. But the motion also says Blagojevich is willing to accept a punishment. The conviction of lying to the FBI alone could carry a sentence of five years in prison.

Read the full motion filed by Blagojevich's attorneys

Rod Blagojevich's defense team --funded by the taxpayers-- says it is not getting paid by the government like it should be and that there is no money to put on a defense for the broke Blagojevich.

Wednesday's motion came one day after attorneys filed a request for Blagojevich to leave the country so he could make money at a speaking engagement in England. The lawyers later withdrew that request, however.

Here is the current offer on the table from the defense: sentence Blagojevich on the one count he was found guilty of in the first trial and scrap the retrial where he still faces 20 other charges.

Blagojevich's public relations service released a statement Wednesday indicating the former governor's lawyers filed the motion "in the interest of justice and to save taxpayer funds."

"This case was tried once at a full trial which lasted over two months...." the statement read.

In the motion, Blagojevich's attorneys wrote, "The financial hardship... has created a vast inequity. The government continues to have every resource at its disposal. Yet, the defense is stymied in its ability to prepare for trial."

It might sound like there is an argument to be made for canceling the retrial, but what are the chances of federal prosecutors giving in and a judge ruling in Blagojevich's favor?

"The judge is going to see the motion. He's going to chuckle in chambers, and he's going to enter an order denying it and that will be the last we hear of it," said Leonard Cavies, DePaul College of Law. "If there are legal grounds to dismiss, we haven't seen it. We certainly haven't seen it in this motion."

"Nobody in the system would take this motion seriously," said Ron Safer, also a former federal prosecutor. "This is not aimed at the judge. It's not aimed at the legal process. It is aimed at the public."

The U.S. attorney's office said there would be no comment on the motion Wednesday. Blagojevich's attorneys also wouldn't comment.

In the first Blagojevich trial, Sam Adam Junior was among the attorneys representing the former governor. He says at the time the attorneys were paid by private funds.

Adam says he understands the cost to defense attorneys on the second trial and the legal system if both sides are not adequately compensated.

"What we need to do in this case is either give them the resources or dismiss it. And think that's where we're at and I do not envy Judge Zagel having to make that decision, he said."

As of 6 p.m., Rod Blagojevich had not been seen outside of his Chicago home, and it did not appear that he would address the news media.

There was no word on when a judge would make a ruling on the motion or if it would be heard in court.