Current, former lawmakers urge Supreme Court to take up Blagojevich appeal

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than a dozen current and former lawmakers are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich's appeal.

The lawmakers submitted an amici curiae brief to the court Tuesday.

The ex-governor has long said he engaged in good old fashioned political horsetrading, not criminal conduct, and the politicians who signed onto the brief seem to agree with him that the U.S. Supreme Court needs to clarify the difference.

In the filing, the political figures "take no position on Mr. Blagojevich's innocence or guilt on any of the counts of conviction," but seem to agree with his argument that there's disagreement in the lower courts over what constitutes illegal fundraising.

"This is, I think, a demand that the court clarify what constitutes a bribe, extortion, and what constitutes doing something for a constituent," said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL-4).

"So long as the law is vague, and so long as there's a split of opinion about what exactly it takes for there to be criminal action, a bribe, politicians of all kinds in all places will have criminal exposure," said ABC 7 Political Analyst Gil soffer.

Blagojevich, who will turn 61 Sunday, filed his second appeal to the Supreme Court in November. He is currently in his fifth year of a 14-year sentence.

The current and former lawmakers who signed the amici curiae brief are:

- U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9th District)
- U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL 7th District)
- U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL 11th District)
- U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL 4th District)
- U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL 5th District)
- U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL 1st District)
- Former U.S. Attorney and Rep. Bob Barr
- Former U.S. Rep. William Lipinski
- Former U.S. Rep. David Phelps
- Former U.S. Rep. Glenn Poshard
- Former State Sen. Emil Jones
- Former State Sen. Carol Ronen
- Elmwood Park Village President and former State Rep. Skip Saviano
- Attorney and former DNC general counsel Joe Sandler
- Former FEC special Assistant General Counsel Lyn Utrecht
- Edward M. Smith, former vice president of Laborer's International Union of North America, Midwest Region
- Nancy Shier, retired manager of Early Childhood Organization
- Attorney Harvey Silverglate
- Attorney Lawrence Suffredin
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.