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Blagojevich Convicted on One Count

Earlier, a post on this blog noted the jurors in the corruption trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich had informed the judge they had only reached a decision on two of the 24 charges in the case. Now, the news comes that the jurors have reached a final verdict: on one count only. Jurors have found Rod Blagojevich guilty on one count of lying to federal agents. The judge has decided to declare a mistrial on the remaining 23 counts.

Prosecutors have wasted no time in announcing that they intend to retry Blagojevich and his brother Robert on the other charges. As the Associated Press reported, one of the main charges as yet undecided is whether or not Blagojevich attempted to sell the senate seat vacated by President Obama. The presiding judge in the trial, James Zagel, has set a hearing for Aug. 26 to decide issues regarding the retrial.

The AP reported that the jurors looked wearier than they had during the trial. The single count verdict came after 14 days of deliberations. At one point, the jurors had informed Judge Zagel that they were deadlocked on as many as 11 of the charges. They had also informed the judge that they had reached agreement on two charges, but seemed to have lost their consensus along the way to the jury verdict.

The lone count on which Blagojevich was found guilty was for lying to federal agents when he told them he did not track his campaign contributions and kept a “‘firewall’ between campaigns and government work.” The conviction carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

During the corruption trial, Robert Blagojevich testified that his brother was “trying to politically work something to his benefit” regarding the handling of the Senate seat, but was thinking in terms of political horse-trading, not corruption, according to a report by CNN.