Jury Convicts Blagojevich on 17 Counts in Retrial

by Norah Maxwell

A federal jury today convicted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges stemming from what prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald called a “political crime spree” that included an attempt to “sell” President Obama’s former Senate seat. The jury came to unanimous agreement on 18 of the 20 charges filed against Blagojevich, convicting on 17 and acquitting on just one. The former governor maintained his innocence throughout the process. The Chicago Tribune described how he “look[ed] [the jury] in theeyes and den[ied] every allegation, telling them his talk on the recordings was mere brainstorming.”

The trial was Blagojevich’s second. An earlier jury had convicted him on just one charge — lying to the FBI — and was deadlocked on all the others. Combined with the new convictions, Blagojevich faces a maximum sentence of nearly 350 years in prison.