After 14 days of deliberations in the corruption trial of former Gov. Blagojevich, the jury has agreed on all but one charge. Late today the jury returned its verdict. They found Blagojevich not guilty on all counts but one and were deadlocked on the other 23.
The one count which he was convicted on is from accusations from five years ago when he said he did not track campaign contributions.
This is a stunning verdict and a major victory for the former Govenor of Illinois. It was a shocking upset for prosecutors that failed to convince a jury to convict Blagojevich on extortion, bribery and racketeering chargers. The jury was deadlocked on the most significant charge that he tried to sell a U.S. Senate seat.
“This jury shows you that the government threw everything but the kitchen sink at me,” Blagojevich said later in a press conference. “They could not prove I did anything wrong — except for one nebulous charge from five years ago.”
It is a major loss by U.S. prosecuting attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, “the conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.”
Blagojevich’s defense team argued their client’s only felony was talking too much because not bribes, job or money ever changed hands. Their argument was good enough to convince some jurors not to convict.
So far the jury has not discussed what went on behind deliberations. The one guilty charge of lying to the FBI does carry a maximum five-year prison sentence. For federal prosecutors they say they will try Bloajoviech again.