Support the news

Blagojevich Jury Reaches Verdicts On 18 Of 20 Counts

This article is more than 8 years old.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his wife, Patti, spoke with the media at the federal building in Chicago in this photo taken June 9. (AP)
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his wife, Patti, spoke with the media at the federal building in Chicago in this photo taken June 9. (AP)

Jurors deliberating in the corruption trial of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich told a judge on Monday that they have reached a verdict on 18 of the 20 counts against him, and attorneys in the case have agreed that the verdicts should be read.

Judge James Zagel said that will happen Monday afternoon.

The jury had returned to the federal courthouse in Chicago on Monday after nine days of deliberations. They had been talking over the evidence over a three-week period.

Blagojevich, 54, faces allegations that he sought to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat in exchange for a high-paying job, and schemed to shake down executives for campaign donations. He took the stand at the retrial and denied all the charges.

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and dozens of reporters filed into the courtroom Monday after the court announced it had received word of a note from jurors only the third note in their deliberations. The two other notes gave no hint about how deliberations were proceeding.

"The jury has come to a decision on 18 of the 20 counts," Zagel said, clutching the note and reading it aloud. Jurors added they were deadlocked on two counts and "were confident" they couldn't agree on those charges "even with further deliberations."

The note didn't say which charges they agreed on or disagreed on.

Asked how he should respond, both prosecutors and the defense indicated to Zagel that the jury had deliberated long enough and should be asked to deliver their verdict.

Jurors at Blagojevich's first trial last year came back deadlocked after deliberating for 14 days. They agreed on just one of 24 counts, convicting Blagojevich of lying to the FBI.

Going into the retrial, prosecutors streamlined the case by dropping racketeering counts against the ex-governor and dismissing all charges against his then co-defendant brother, Robert Blagojevich.

They presented just three weeks of evidence half the time taken at the first trial. They called fewer witnesses, asked fewer questions and played shorter excerpts of FBI wiretaps that underpin most of the charges.

There was also a new variable at the retrial: The testimony from Blagojevich himself. At the first trial, the defense rested without calling any witnesses and Blagojevich didn't testify despite vowing that he would.

Retrial jurors saw a deferential Blagojevich look them in the eyes and deny every allegation, telling them his talk on the recordings was mere brainstorming. This time, jurors must decide if they believe him.

This program aired on June 27, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

+Join the discussion

Support the news