A Chicago jury has found former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich guilty of 17 of the 20 charges in his corruption trial, including multiple charges of wire fraud and bribery, and attempting to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat.In a brief press conference after the verdict was announced, Blagojevich said that “among the many lessons that I’ve learned from this whole experience is to try to speak a little bit less, so I’m going to keep my remarks kind of short.”
“[Wife] Patti and I obviously are very disappointed in the outcome. I frankly am stunned,” he said. “There’s not much left to say, other than we want to get home to our little girls and talk to them and explain things to them and then try to sort things out.”
The jury found Blagojevich guilty on ten counts of wire fraud, four of extortion, and three of bribery. He was found not guilty on one of the other bribery counts and the jury deadlocked on two counts of extortion. From the Ward Room blog of NBC Chicago:
They spared the former governor on count 17, however, saying that he never shook down the Illinois Tollway. The jury didn’t come to an agreement on counts 11 and 16, which dealt with the Illnois Tollway and trying to get favors for releasing funds for an elementary school.
Before the verdict was announced, Blagojevich told reporters “it’s in God’s hands” on his way to the courthouse. He also quoted the Elvis song “All Shook Up,” ABC7chicago reports, saying: “My hands are shaking, my knees are weak. I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet.”
The counts he was convicted on carry a combined sentence of up to 350 years.
In August, Blagojevich was convicted on one count of making false statements to the FBI, just one of the 24 charges initially brought against him. He was re-tried after the jury deadlocked on the rest of the charges.
Three of the racketeering charges were dropped to simplify the case for the jury.
The charges were related to accusations that Blagojevich had tried to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat in 2008, after it was vacated by Obama when he was elected President. Blagojevich pleaded not guilty to all counts of wire fraud, racketeering, bribery, and attempted extortion.
Full coverage of Blago here.