Guilty! Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Convicted On Corruption Charges
Remember that guy in Chicago, IL named Rod Blagojevich who tried to sell President Barack Obama‘s U.S. Senate seat (the one he vacated to become President of the United States of America)? Blagojevich pleaded not guilty to 20 charges that included extortion, bribery, wire fraud and racketeering. The verdict came down today and it sure didn’t go as she had planned—Blagojevich was found guilty and convicted on 17 chargers. Looks like the dude is going to jail. Per CNN.com:
…As the verdicts were read, Blagojevich turned to look back at his wife, Patti, who dropped into her seat. None of the jurors would look at the defendant as the verdicts were being read.
He was found guilty of all 10 counts involving wire fraud—each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The other 10 involved extortion and bribery. Most of the counts have a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The jury acquitted Blagojevich on one count of bribery and was unable to reach verdicts on two counts of attempted extortion.
“I frankly am stunned,” an uncharacteristically muted Blagojevich told reporters as he left the courtroom hand-in-hand with his wife. “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. I’m sure we’ll be seeing you guys again.”
Chicago-Kent College of Law Professor Richard Kling predicted that Blagojevich would wind up being sentenced to anywhere between six and 11 years. That calculation is reached by a mathematical formula, he said. “You punch in who he is, what he did,” he said.
Politics ain’t pretty and Blagojevich’s convictions are for some pretty gansta offenses:
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.
Blagojevich 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 nonprofit 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 accelerating 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 initially also 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 from the first trial deadlocked on most of the counts against Rod Blagojevich and all the charges against his brother, prosecutors dropped charges against Robert Blagojevich.
Blagojevich’s defense argued that he just liked to talk and that he ended up with nothing.
The former Cook County, Illinois, assistant prosecutor, state representative and Golden Gloves boxer had 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.”
He wasn’t the only one in the family hitting up reality TV—his wife Patti joined the cast of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here the same season Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt. And it was more craptastic than you can even imagine.