Blagojevich asks judge to cancel second trial, cites money woes
March 9th, 2011
10:23 AM ET
7 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. ja

    did he plead guilty, otherwise

    March 9, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I am beginning to think that as bad as Blago is, he does not hold a candle to our corrupt governor in Florida. Blago attempted to do something illegal, but Scott was responsible for illegal activities that brought his company a $1.7 billion fine.

    March 9, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. AndyBlue

    Is he kidding? What arrogance. Judges don't consider money when prosecuting the rest of us peasants. I will be disgusted if this judge caters to this disgrace.

    March 9, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Nicholas D.

    And was this man concerned with how taxpayer dollars were spent BEFORE any of this? I think not. It's nothing more than a ploy to get away with as much as possible. This man needs to understand what he put this state through and needs to be punished accordingly. Am I saying he needs prison? Not necessarily. But perhaps some sort of forced work for nonviolent offenders could prove beneficial to us?

    March 9, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Skeeter

    So let him get a public defender like anyone else who can't afford private legal council.

    'Please don't try me because I don't have any money to defend myself. Wah! Sniff, sniff."

    Lame!! So innocent, yet so afraid of that chance he'd be convicted of the crimes he committed. Typical milk-toast.

    March 9, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. witch56

    There is no other way to say this, HE IS AN IDIOT!

    March 9, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. Joshua Ludd

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

    And here we see why this is really happening.

    March 9, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  8. Chas in Iowa

    The guy is trying to skate on the other charges and tries to tell us it is for our own good.
    What a politician.
    This self serving public official deserves to spend a lot more than five years for his corruption.

    March 9, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Stefanie Fletcher

    Wow. If this actually works we might see other criminals using the same argument...

    March 9, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. Pat in IL

    Too bad....he should have thought of that before performing his criminal acts. He's looking for an "easy out", because the selling of the Senate seat will eventually be proven. This scum bag needs to be put away for a looooong time, not just 5 years – of which he probably won't serve all.

    March 9, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Jacob

    As an Illinois resident. i am outraged by this. This man is guilty of all of the charges and he knows it. Everyone in Illinois knows it. Its not a huge secret of what all he was doing here. It was common knowledge. Its the reason he got caught. This is just his attempt to scrap by and not get punished like he should. this man deserves prison for life. even though that is too light of a sentence for what he has done.

    Please U.S. district court. do the right thing and DENY THIS MOTION

    March 9, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. Illinois Public Defender


    I'll represent you for free!

    March 9, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Iron_man

    "If you can not afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you" let change that to "if you can not not afford a lawyer, you don't have to go to trail. Have a nice day"

    March 9, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. Fricsaid

    My gut is usually pretty accurate and my gut tells me that Blago is a foul-ball.

    March 9, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. wcb2009

    I cant think of a better way to spend tax dollars than throwing a crooked politicians into prison!

    March 9, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. Obamacare = Romneycare v1.01

    Remember, Blago is only interested in what benefits Blago. I certainly hope the judge does not grant him this cheeky request. I would like to see Blago: (1) express sincere regret for what has done and (2) spend a damn sight more than five years in the slammer. The first is highly unlikely, the second ... one can only hope.

    March 9, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. bob

    oh like the average person who is faced with criminal action can ask the judge OH by the way, I dont have the money for an attorney so please cancel the trial... let him get a public defender and see how good that works

    March 9, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Eric

    The government should always endeavor to punish public corruption to the fullest extent of the law. Unless Blago wants to plead guilty, they should proceed with a trial on any charge that the government has reasonable hope of proving.

    March 9, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    Like Lindsey Lohan, Michaele Salahi, Jon & Kate Gosselin, and Charlie Sheen, this trainwreck just needs to go away.

    March 9, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Sounds like Blago is trying to bribe the judge citing money woes and if the judge should allow this Blago will claim victory and get all charges dropped. Don't do it judge.

    March 9, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Aeromechanic.

    I agree. Sentence him on the charge he has been found guilty of. No reason to think that a new trial would end any differently.

    March 9, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. peggy

    This agreement could well serve the interest of all.

    March 9, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Tom

    Bravo Blago, You should be set free.
    Tom, New York

    March 9, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. Barry from Wisconsin

    Blago is pathetic. He was recorded soliciting bribes and deserves to join other disgraced ex-Illinois governors in prison. He is an embarrassment to the state and to previous governors – both Republican and Democratic who were honest and effective leaders. I lived in IL for many years and love the State. Blago is certainly not representative of the people or the vast number of honest elected officials.

    March 9, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  25. Mike B

    Really? This is a desperate attempt for him to get out of jail. He 100% deserves to serve hard time.

    March 9, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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