Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blago Verdict Is In: Hung Jury on 23 of 24 Counts

Rod “Elvis” Blagojevich skates. Of the 24 counts, Rod Blagojevich was convicted on only one count: Lying to the FBI about his knowledge of individual campaign contributions and contributors. Ironically, he was convicted of lying about something that isn’t a crime. The disgraced former Illinois governor got off on all the major counts, including racketeering and trying to sell President Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder.

[Caption correction: Delete "Jury" and insert in its place "Juror"]

So it’s perjury, carrying a maximum of 5 years jail time and a $250,000 fine. But the judge declared a mistrial on the other deadlocked 23 counts. The prosecution vows to retry the case, but at what point is it a case of diminishing returns. Big loss for Patrick Fitzgerald. It seems the Blago strategy of working the local radio talk show circuit and playing the hapless bumbler on Celebrity Apprentice had an impact. Blago’s father-son legal team, judged to be outclassed and lacking in “style” to try a case in federal court, came out looking like geniuses. Evidently, Blago’s depiction as “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” resonated with the jury.

At this writing, Elvis is still in the building.

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