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Tag: Blago

Blagojevich Sentencing Delayed, Few Surprised

facebook photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

U.S. District Judge James Zagel has delayed the Oct. 6 sentencing for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich,  reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

The sentencing has been delayed because Judge Zagel is set to start a trial on October 3 for William Cellini, a Springfield power broker who himself is alleged to have extorted campaign contributions for Blagojevich.  That trial is expected to last beyond the October 6.

Blagojevich was convicted on 17 of 20 counts at his retrial, including trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he became president. The first trial ended with Blago being convicted on only 1 of 24 counts, with the jury deadlocking on the remainder.

Prosecutors are expected to seek a 30-year prison sentence, reports McClatchy.

The delay comes as no surprise to most following the case. Speaking to ticklethewire.com last week about a related story, legal expert and frequent television news commentator Jami Floyd predicted the delay because of the Cellini trial.

“A judge who’s in the middle of a big trial is not going to delay that trial for sentencing — no matter whom the defendant is,” she said. “I’m betting the former governor is going to have to get in line, with everyone else, to wait for the Judge’s calendar to open up.”

Blagojevich’s attorney Shelly Sorosky seemed to expect the delay too. “It’s not going to happen,” the Sun-Times had quoted him as saying before the announcement. “[To stop the Cellini trial] would taint the Cellini jury. I’m quite certain it will be continued,” he said.

A new sentencing date has yet to be set.

Prosecutor to Blago: “You Are a Convicted Liar, Correct?”

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Loaded for bear, federal prosecutors began their cross examination Thursday of the ever-chatty ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich with a very blunt question.

“Mr. Blagojevich, you are a convicted liar, correct?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar asked, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Yes,” answered Blagojevich, according to the Trib. His lawyers tried to object.

The question was in reference to his first trial in which prosecutors convicted him on only 1 of 24 counts — lying to the FBI. The jury was deadlocked on the remaining 23 counts.

Prosecutors on Thursday tried to portray Blago as a slippery sort, the Trib reported.

To read more click here.

Let the Fun Begin: Fed Prosecutor Calls Blago a “Liar” As Retrial Nears

headline after first trial

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The pretrial hearing was like a “weigh in” before the big boxing match, where both sides snipe at one another.

A federal prosecutor on Monday called the very chatty ex-Ill. Gov Rod Blagojevich a ‘liar’  at a pretrial hearing in U.S. District Court in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

And U.S. District Judge James Zagel warned Blago to watch what he yaps to the media because some of those things could be used against him in the trial that begins on Wednesday.

“You can consider my remarks a red flag,” Zagel said.

Lead prosecutor Reid Schar complained about Blagojevich,  who was saying in the media that federal attorneys tried to hide evidence that might  clear him of the accusations, which include allegations that he tried to sell President Obama’s vacant Senate seat, the Tribune reported.

Schar said in court, according to the Trib:  “This is just an attempt by him to poison what’s going on. . . . At a certain point, enough is enough.”  Schar said he would like to grill Blago on  the witness stand and “confront him with his lies.”  However, it’s not clear if Blago will take the stand in his retrial. He did not in the first trial in which he was only convicted on 1 of 24 counts — for lying to the FBI.

Schar was particularly annoyed by Blago’s comments on TV in which he said the government had the power to publicly release more FBI wiretap recordings, the Tribune reported. Schar said that power resides with the judge. Blago has claimed repeatedly that the prosecutors don’t want to release all the FBI recordings, which would prove his innocence.

“We’d like some remedy for those fabrications that he’s not being called on,” he said, according to the Tribune.

Defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky countered by saying Blago  was offering up his understanding of the rules and intentionally fabricating them, according to the Trib.

Blagojevich spokesman Glenn Selig said in a statement, according to the Trib: “The governor will continue to be truthful, honest and responsible as he does everything he can to clear his name.”

Breaking News: Jurors in Blago Case Say They’ve Only Reached Agreement on 2 of 24 Counts

Ex-Gov Blagojevich as gov/state photo

Ex-Gov Blagojevich as gov/state photo

Update: Thurs. 6:10 p.m.– The Chicago Tribune reports that the jurors are done for the day and will return Monday.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Jurors in the corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich have come to an agreement on two of 24 counts, the Associated Press reported Thursday. The judge instructed them to continue deliberating.

The jurors indicated they had not even discussed 11 counts of wire fraud, and were deadlocked on another 11, the AP reported.

Blagojevich and his brother Robert are both on trial.

Breaking News: Jury in Blago Case Says it’s Hung

Ex-Gov. Blago while in office/official photo

Ex-Gov. Blago while in office/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The federal jury in the public corruption case of Ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has told the judge its is deadlocked on all counts, according to the Chicago News Cooperative.

The Associated Press reported that they appeared to be hung on just some counts.

The jurors sent a note to the judge asking for guidance. The judge said he needed more clarification, the news cooperative reported. The judge summarized the content of the note in open court around 4:15, Chicago time.

“In a situation where jurors can’t agree on given counts, what should the next logical step be?” the jurors asked, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’ve gone beyond reasonable attempts without rancor.”

The jury has been deliberating for 11 days. Blagojevich was indicted on 24 counts including allegations that he tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.