Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Judge upholds Blagojevich conviction

By Jamey Dunn

Federal Judge James Zagel denied former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s bid to have the single conviction from his corruption trial tossed out.

Blagojevich was convicted in August on one charge of lying to federal agents — stemming from a 2005 discussion when he told FBI agents he kept a “firewall” between campaign fundraising and his job as governor.

Blagojevich asked Zagel to nullify the conviction based alleged misconduct by the prosecution.

Zagel did not agree that the prosecution took any inappropriate actions. "The arguments made here are weak in themselves. Defendant's motion is founded in substantial part on the well-known principle that if a lawyer cannot attack the law or the facts in a criminal prosecution, the only recourse is to attack the prosecutor,” Zagel said in a written opinion.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on 23 other corruption charges, including allegations that Blagojevich tried to sell President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat. The former governor faces a retrial in April 2011. Zagel gave Blagojevich’s trimmed-down defense team more time to prepare after his earlier outspoken father-son lawyer team, Sam Adam and Sam Adam Jr., bowed out of having an active role in the retrial.

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