Ex-Ill. Gov. Blagojevich Found Guilty on Charge of Lying to Federal Agents

BY newsdesk  August 17, 2010 at 6:04 PM EDT


UPDATE 6:40 p.m. EDT | Before leaving the courthouse, Rod Blagojevich said the government could not prove he did anything wrong, and pledged to fight his one conviction.

“I want the people of Illinois to know I did not lie to the FBI,” he said.

UPDATE 6:02 p.m. EDT | Outside the courtroom, the former governor’s brother Robert Blagojevich, who was not found guilty, said he continued to feel like “an innocent target of the federal government” and that he was prepared to defend himself in a second trial, if necessary.

“I feel bad for my brother,” he said of Rod Blagojevich’s conviction on one count. Asked if he resented his brother for embroiling him in the matter, Robert said he doesn’t discuss their relationship.

Judge James B. Zagel set a hearing for Aug. 26 to decide the manner and timing of the brothers’ retrial.

The count on which the former governor was found guilty included accusations that he lied to federal agents when he said he did not track campaign contributions and kept a “firewall” between political campaigns and government work. It carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

UPDATE 5:40 p.m. EDT | Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was found guilty Tuesday on one charge of lying to federal agents after he pleaded not guilty to corruption charges of trying to sell or trade President Obama’s former Senate seat and leverage power of his office for personal gain.

Blagojevich, 53, had faced 24 counts including racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud and attempted extortion, but the jury only reached unanimous agreement on a count of making false statements.

The judge said he plans to declare a mistrial on the remaining 23 counts.


Blagojevich, ousted from office last year during his second term by the state Legislature, held his wife, Patti’s hand as he arrived Tuesday afternoon at the courthouse. He asked spectators to “say a prayer for us.”

The six male and six female jurors read the verdict on the 14th day of deliberations. Earlier Tuesday, jurors sought advice on filling out verdict forms, suggesting they were near the end of deliberations. They also requested a copy of the oath they took before deliberating. They had sent four notes in the final four days of deliberations, signaling some disagreement.

The former Democratic governor and his brother, a Nashville, Tenn., businessman, both pleaded not guilty to corruption charges.

We’ll have more on the verdict on Tuesday’s NewsHour. Also, check out coverage from our public broadcasting friends at WBEZ.