Rod Blagojevich: Round TwoMarch 21, 2011 - 2:13 PM | by: Ruth Ravve
CHICAGO- Its not over until its over for Rod Blagojevich, and it looks like it won’t be over until sometime after April.
The former Illinois Governor was hoping a judge would cancel his upcoming retrial and drop more than a dozen charges against him, including fraud and racketeering, for allegedly trying to sell Barack Obama’s former senate seat.
At a status hearing today in federal court Judge James Zagel told attorneys he couldn’t discuss the “cancel the retrial” motion because it wasn’t filed properly. The defense apparently didn’t include something called a “notification of presentment”, which is supposed to accompany all motions filed, in order to get them on the judge’s schedule. So Blago’s attorneys say they’ll try again–despite the fact that the judge said the motion “was written for an audience other than the court” (which some speculated to mean it was written for the court of public opinion) and that it should “vanish into thin air”. Even if the defense re-files the motion, Zagel says he doesn’t have the authority to rule on it.
In his first trial, last year, Blago was convicted on one count of lying to Federal agents. The jury was deadlocked on the other counts. Defense attorneys say a retrial would be too expensive, since it will be mostly paid for by taxpayers, and that it would be cheaper and easier to just sentence Blago on the one count for which he was convicted. He’d likely get up to 5 years in prison for it. ”And then the government can go back to focusing on catching terrorists” Blago attorney Sheldon Sorosky said.
Blago’s lead attorney for his first trial, the much more dramatic and colorful Sam Adam junior, explained that the real reason for the defense pushing the motion to cancel the retrial “was NOT to get the Governor or the Court to dismiss the charges. That would have been nice but generally unrealistic”. Adam says it was more likely the court appointed defense attorneys were worried about the Federal Government shutting down, in which case they wouldn’t get paid. Adam claims when the motion was filed attorneys had not been paid since last October, yet once they asked for the retrial to be canceled “Miraculously the lawyers were paid within 3 days of filing their motion!!!!”.
When asked whether there was a chance of a plea bargain at this late date, the always expressive Adam went on to say “I think the chances of the Governor agreeing to plead guilty to anything is as likely as the snowball you know where. I am convinced that he may have used faulty judgement sometimes, and he relied upon the wrong people for advice at times, but he is totally innocent of all the charges. Remember, the government totally failed to show he ever took one corrupt dime while he was in public office…”
Blagojevich’s retrial is set to begin April 20. When asked how long the trial might take, defense attorneys simply rolled their eyes.