Blagojevich asks judge to cancel second trial, cites money woes
March 9th, 2011
10:23 AM ET
3 years ago

Blagojevich asks judge to cancel second trial, cites money woes

Washington (CNN) - The impeached former Illinois governor, who'd previously been accused of trying to sell President Obama's senate seat, filed a motion on Wednesday to dismiss a second trial that was set to begin April 20.

In the motion, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich asked a federal judge to instead sentence him on the single conviction from his first trial. The former governor said that doing so will save taxpayer money - and save him money from mounting legal fees.

CNN obtained a copy of the motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

"The government's continued prosecution of this case should cease," the document states. "This case was tried once, at a full trial which lasted over two months."

Last August, Blagojevich was found guilty of lying to the FBI, but escaped convictions on 23 other counts.

"While Blagojevich still maintains his innocence on every charge, he stands convicted, after the first trial, of the offense of making a false statement," Blagojevich's motion continues. "He must be sentenced on that conviction. This offense carries a potential significant jail sentence."

The one count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

It goes on to say that a second trial would be "an irresponsible use of taxpayer funds in light of the current economic crisis." The first trial was paid for by a legal defense fund for Blagojevich. The second trial would be funded by taxpayers.

Blagojevich would face 17 public corruption-related charges in any second trial.

Perhaps most telling in the motion is an apparent admission about Blagojevich's own economic situation.

Regarding a possible second trial, the motion states, "To date, defense counsel have been working on the Blagojevich case for almost nine months without pay. This has caused a significant hardship and has deprived Blagojevich of his right to effective assistance of counsel."

It also mentions that money to fight the first trial ran out near the end. Lawyers "received only partial compensation (one-fifth of payment) for the last month of trial, July 2010."

The claim that Blagojevich tried to sell the president's old U.S. seat was never proven. That and other accusations against him helped lead to his January 2009 impeachment as the governor of Illinois.


Filed under: Robert Blagojevich
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Dale

    Now that's an interesting ploy. With a friendly Democrat judge in Chicago, he'd probably get a suspended sentence. Of course, he's saving the Governement money so we'd all be happy; NOT. Maybe as a condition on the sentence, the judge could have him forfeit any income he derives from books, lectures, TV appearances. etc. based on his time as Governor and his notoriety from this case. That would help pay for the first trial.

    March 9, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. ken

    Sooner or later, Obama will be a key character in this trial. As the most prominent supporter of Blago and a key buddy of the convicted Resko, Obama has the most to fear from a new trial that may explore more of the corrupt politics in Illinois. Blago probably can take Obama down. I wonder he is looking for money to perform that simple operation. That would destroy the Democrat Party in the US and the world would finally realize that Obama is just a figurehead for the US Mob.

    March 9, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Randy999

    This guy is unreal! He will end up like Palin; books deals and rubber chicken circuit making millions. That he could find lawyrs to represent him for free for so long proves there are some really dumb lawyers.

    March 9, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Mark

    What was that line from The Untouchables? "Put a murder in jail for tax evasion?" I know, not the same crime, but the theme is familiar.

    March 9, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. Randy

    Well, yeah, he's hurting for money – didn't you hear? A really valuable deal of his fell through....

    March 9, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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