U.S. District Judge James Zagel has delayed the Oct. 6 sentencing for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
The sentencing has been delayed because Judge Zagel is set to start a trial on October 3 for William Cellini, a Springfield power broker who himself is alleged to have extorted campaign contributions for Blagojevich. That trial is expected to last beyond the October 6.
Blagojevich was convicted on 17 of 20 counts at his retrial, including trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he became president. The first trial ended with Blago being convicted on only 1 of 24 counts, with the jury deadlocking on the remainder.
Prosecutors are expected to seek a 30-year prison sentence, reports McClatchy.
The delay comes as no surprise to most following the case. Speaking to ticklethewire.com last week about a related story, legal expert and frequent television news commentator Jami Floyd predicted the delay because of the Cellini trial.
“A judge who’s in the middle of a big trial is not going to delay that trial for sentencing — no matter whom the defendant is,” she said. “I’m betting the former governor is going to have to get in line, with everyone else, to wait for the Judge’s calendar to open up.”
Blagojevich’s attorney Shelly Sorosky seemed to expect the delay too. “It’s not going to happen,” the Sun-Times had quoted him as saying before the announcement. “[To stop the Cellini trial] would taint the Cellini jury. I’m quite certain it will be continued,” he said.
A new sentencing date has yet to be set.