In a second trial, jurors have convicted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on 17 of 20 counts, including wire fraud, extortion, bribery, and of using the Senate seat left vacant by Barack Obama during his presidential campaign for personal gain. Blagojevich already faced up to five years in prison from the last trial for lying to the FBI. Some of the counts he was convicted on carry up to 20 years in prison.
Speaking to reporters outside the court house, Blagojevich described himself as disappointed and “stunned” by the outcome.
Prosecutors said Blagojevich could be heard on wiretaps as saying “I’ve got this thing and it’s [expletive] golden,” a reference to the open Senate seat, and that he wasn’t “giving it up for [expletive] nothing.”
Blagojevich, 54, was impeached and removed from office in 2009. He had since appeared on the television show “Celebrity Apprentice.”
George Ryan, who proceeded him as governor, is serving a 6 1/2-year sentence on corruption charges; former governors Otto Kerner and Dan Walker have also been convicted after leaving office.
According to the Chicago Tribune, “Blogojevich showed no reaction as the jury announced their decisions, then sat back in his chair with his lips pursed and looked toward his wife Patti and whispered, ‘I love you.’ As the first guilty verdict was announced, Patti Blagojevich slumped into the arms of her brother, who stroked her head. Before the verdict was even read, she had started crying. She kept shaking her head ‘no’ as the jurors left the courtroom.”