Blagojevich convicted of trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat

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Months after the fact, a jury in Illinois finally convicted former governor Rod Blagojevich on 17 of 20 public corruption charges. They acquitted the former governor on one count of bribery and could not reach a verdict on two counts of attempted extortion, including one involving the current Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel. Today’s verdicts come with the second trial for Blagojevich. Last year’s trial ended with the jury dead-locking on all but one count of lying to the FBI. Blagojevich was reportedly stunned and “very disappointed” at today’s verdicts.

At the time of his arrest, two years into his second term, court-authorized wiretaps caught Blagoyevich offering Obama’s Senate seat in exchange for favors, including a job with a non-profit or a union, corporate posts for his wife, campaign contributions or even a post in the Obama administration. In fact, he considered appointing himself to the open Senate seat, thinking that his indictment would go better as a sitting Senator than as a governor – plus the federal contacts he made as a Senator would benefit him down the road. (Insert eyeroll here)

According to prosecutors, Blagoyevich was frustrated that the Obama transition team weren’t willing to give him “anything but appreciation.” “I’ve got this thing and it’s effing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for effing nothing. I’m not gonna do it,” prosecutors quoted Blagojevich as saying.

He was impeached and removed from office by the Illinois legislature after his arrest just one month after Obama took office. Each charge comes with a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. He will be sentenced on August 1st and could be going away for a long, long time.

More details on Politico, The Hill, CNN, Chicago Tribune

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