CHICAGO (WLS) -- Rod Blagojevich's lawyers are planning their next legal move the day after an appeals court vacated five convictions against the former governor, who remains in a Colorado prison.
Question one: Does Blagojevich appeal yet again?
There are two possibilities: He could ask all the judges in the 7th Circuit to consider the appeal. Would they agree to hear it? Conventional wisdom says that's not likely. Or, he could try to go right to the U.S. Supreme Court. Would the justices agree to hear it? Conventional wisdom says that's a long shot.
"So I think on balance, the avenue of appeal is not going to be successful at all," Harold Krent, dean IIT-Kent College of Law, said.
Question two: Will the U.S. attorney choose to re-try Blagojevich on the five counts now thrown out?
Conventional wisdom says no way. All the lawyers who handled the Blagojevich case are no longer in the office. Another trial would be hugely expensive with reduced chances of winning.
"They've already had success on 13 of the 18 counts, as the 7th circuit said. The sentence may end up being the same anyway, so why bother re-trying the case," Krent said.
Question three: Will Judge James Zagel reduce Blagojevich's 14-year sentence? He could, but he is not compelled to do so.
"If I had to guess right now, it'll go to Judge Zagel and Zagel will shave the sentence by a couple years," Krent said.
Not only are those five counts out of the legal equation, but Judge Zagel is also allowed to consider human factors. The former governor has already done over three years of a lengthy sentence. He's been a model prisoner by all accounts, and his family's plea for some mercy may carry a bit of weight.
"And even though he could maintain the same sentence, due to the passage of time and the fact that five of 18 counts were thrown out, my guess is that he would respond to that with some kind of leniency," Krent said.
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