Federal Judge Sets $450,000 Bond for Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich

July 17, 2011

Chicago Tribune on July 15, 2011 released the following:

“By Jeff Coen | Tribune reporter

Judge sets $450,000 bail for Blagojevich, lower than feds sought

A federal judge today set bond at $450,000 for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and ordered him to post his North Side house and Washington condo as collateral despite the defense declaring that the Chicago residence is up for sale.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel then called Blagojevich and his wife Patti before him to issue the standard warning that they could lose both properties if the former governor violated bond conditions.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Blagojevich Convicted on 17 of the 20 Public Corruption Charges

June 27, 2011
Rod Blagojevich

CNN on June 27, 2011 released the following:

“Chicago (CNN) — Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted Monday on 17 of the 20 public corruption charges against him.

The jury acquitted Blagojevich on one count of bribery and was unable to reach verdicts on two counts of attempted extortion.

The charges against Blagojevich included trying to peddle the U.S. Senate seat held by Barack Obama before he resigned to become president. Blagojevich has denied any intention of bribery.

Last August, after a two-month trial and 14 days of deliberation, jurors deadlocked on 23 of the 24 charges Blagojevich had faced. They found him guilty on one count of lying to FBI investigators, a conviction that could carry a prison sentence of five years.

The accusation that Blagojevich tried to profit as he considered whom to appoint to succeed Obama, among other allegations, prompted his impeachment by Illinois’ House of Representatives and his removal from office by the state Senate in 2009.

Ten of the counts against him in the current trial are wire fraud. The other 10 involve extortion and bribery. Most of the counts have a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Blagojevich, 54, was taken into federal custody in December 2008, less than two years into his second term as governor. A federal grand jury indicted in him April 2009.

At the time of his arrest, prosecutors said court-authorized wiretaps caught Blagojevich offering Obama’s Senate seat in exchange for personal gain, including a job with a non-profit or union organization, corporate board posts for his wife, campaign contributions or a post in Obama’s administration.

He expressed frustration, according to prosecutors, that Obama transition officials were “not willing to give me anything except appreciation.”

“I’ve got this thing and it’s (expletive) golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for (expletive) nothing. I’m not gonna do it,” prosecutors quoted Blagojevich as saying.

Blagojevich also considered appointing himself to the post, mulling whether he might be better off being indicted as a senator rather than governor, and saying contacts he would make in the federal job would benefit him later, according to prosecutors.

Aside from the charges of trying to sell the Senate seat, prosecutors also accused Blagojevich of using his position to obtain financial benefits for himself, his family and his campaign in exchange for jobs, contracts and appointments to state boards to supporters.

They accused Blagojevich of acelerating the scheme in 2008 to accumulate funds before a new state ethics law would have limited his ability to raise money from people and companies that were doing business with the state.

Along with Blagojevich, prosecutors charged his brother, Robert Blagojevich, with one count of wire fraud, one count of extortion conspiracy, one count of attempted extortion and one count of bribery conspiracy in connection with his brother’s alleged Senate-seat-selling plan.

But a week after jurors came back deadlocked on most of the counts against Rod Blagojevich and all of the charges against his brother, prosecutors dropped charges against Robert Blagojevich but said they would retry the former governor.

Blagojevich’s defense argued that he just liked to talk and that he ended up with nothing. Attorney Aaron Goldstein said the “law is about intent,” CNN affiliate WLS has reported. Goldstein said the prosecution hadn’t met its burden of proof.

The former Cook County assistant prosecutor, state representative and Golden Gloves boxer has remained in the public eye since his removal from office, appearing in a Chicago comedy show, releasing an autobiography, and competing on the TV show “Celebrity Apprentice.””

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Blagojevich Jurors Have Reached Partial Verdict

June 27, 2011

The New York Times on June 27, 2011 released the following:

“CHICAGO — Jurors in the trial of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois who is accused of trying to benefit personally from his selection of a replacement for the United States senate seat once held by President Obama, were expected to announce a verdict on Monday afternoon.

As they began a 10th day of deliberations on Monday morning, they told a federal court judge here that they had reached agreement on 18 of 20 criminal counts against Mr. Blagojevich, but were deadlocked on two others. An announcement of their verdict was expected after 1 p.m. Central.

Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat whose former aides say once saw himself as a presidential contender, was tried on charges of wire fraud, attempted extortion, bribery, extortion conspiracy and bribery conspiracy.

The trial was Mr. Blagojevich’s second on the charges. Nearly a year ago, another jury deadlocked on all but two of the counts against him.

This jury’s decision may end, at last, the spectacle of Mr. Blagojevich’s spiraling political career, which has played out here since shortly after Mr. Obama was elected president in November 2008.

A month after Election Day, Mr. Blagojevich, who under state law was responsible for picking a new senator to replace Mr. Obama so he could move to the White House, was arrested. Federal agents revealed that they had secretly recorded hundreds of hours of damaging phone calls by him and his advisers.

Mr. Blagojevich, 54, and a lawyer and former state and federal lawmaker, was accused of trying to secure campaign contributions, a cabinet post or a new, high-paying job in exchange for his official acts as governor — whether that was picking a new senator, supporting particular legislation or deciding how to spend state money. He has proclaimed his innocence again and again — on the witness stand, in television interviews and in a memoir he wrote.

The scandal reaffirmed an image Illinois (where corruption, by one university’s estimate, has cost taxpayers more than $300 million a year) has long wished to shed: If Mr. Blagojevich goes to prison, he will be the fourth governor in recent memory to be imprisoned (one of them for acts he committed after leaving office). It was a particularly dramatic fall for Mr. Blagojevich, who campaigned for governor on a reform agenda following a corruption scandal that undid his Republican predecessor, George Ryan, who remains in federal prison.

In Mr. Blagojevich’s earlier trial, he was convicted of a single charge: lying to the F.B.I. about how much he kept track of the details of his campaign’s fund-raising. That conviction carries up to five years in prison.

After the first trial, jurors said the case had been too tangled and too confusing, and it was clear that prosecutors took that message to heart. In the new trial, which began in April, prosecutors offered fewer, simpler charges, a notably boiled down message, and a emphasis on the thought that Mr. Blagojevich did not need to actually complete any deals to be found guilty of crimes for proposing them.

Prosecutors laid out five “schemes” in which they said Mr. Blagojevich tried to get campaign contributions in exchange for supporting racetrack legislation or road projects and pushed for a campaign fund-raiser in exchange for support of a school. But the crimes involved, the prosecutors told jurors again and again, could not have been simpler: Mr. Blagojevich sought personal benefit for public acts.

The stakes of this retrial were apparent. Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois (who may be better known nationally as having pursued the C.I.A. leak case against I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney) personally listened to parts of the case even though his assistants were trying it. He took notes on Mr. Blagojevich’s testimony from a room in the courthouse where courtroom proceedings were piped in for reporters and others to hear. James Matsumoto, a retired public television librarian who had served as the jury foreman in the first trial last summer, also attended portions of the case.

For his part at the trial, Mr. Blagojevich did what Mr. Blagojevich likes to do — talk. After offering no defense testimony at all in his first trial, Mr. Blagojevich testified before jurors for seven days, proclaiming his innocence and portraying his taped conversations about matters like who he might appoint to the senate as merely brainstorming, not some sinister plot.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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