Ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich was accused of trying to sell President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat in Illinois. The U.S. Attorney for Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald, seemed to have some great evidence — tape recordings of Blagojevich engaging in apparent wheeling and dealing (and uttering a fair amount of profanity).
Today, on the fourteenth day of jury deliberations, the jury found the former governor guilty on count 24 of the indictment, making false statements to federal agents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. The maximum penalty is five years of imprisonment. This makes Blagojevich a convicted felon.
But there was some better news for Blago, too….
The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on the other 23 counts — more serious counts, with greater exposure. The § 1001 count is the proverbial tail on the dog, a charge that federal prosecutors often toss in “just to be on the safe side.”
Of course, the government could attempt to retry him on the hung counts. Prosecutors have told Judge James Zagel (N.D. Ill.) that they intend to do just that.
It appears that Blagojevich may have run out of money for his defense. So if there’s a retrial, taxpayers could end up footing the bill for both sides, prosecution and defense. Yay!
Blagojevich Guilty of Lying to Federal Agents; No Verdict on Other Counts [Associated Press]
LIVE streaming video from ABC7 Chicago [ABC 7 / Chicago]
Blagojevich Campaign Fund Officially Tapped [NBC Chicago]