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Tag: Charges

Prosecutors in Blago Case Drop 3 Counts in Hopes of Simplifying Retrial

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After presenting what may have been too complex of a case for the jury to digest the first time around, prosecutors in Rod Blagojevich’s corruption case moved Wednesday to drop three counts for the upcoming retrial, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The number of counts will now drop from 23 to 20. Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor, was convicted of only 1 of 24 counts in the first trial — for lying to an FBI agent. The jury deadlocked on the remaining counts.

The Sun-Times reported that lawyers in the case said just dropping two racketeering counts should eliminate at least 30 pages of jury instructions.

One of the allegations is that Blagojevich tried selling President Obama’s Senate seat.

The paper reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said in court the reduction in counts will help “streamline the length of the indictment” and the jury instructions.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Brotherly Love? Ex-Gov. Blago Doesn’t Call Brother Hours After Charges Dropped

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice
Ex-Gov on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Perhaps one of the more interesting asterisks surrounding the decision Thursday by prosecutors to drop charges against Robert Blagojevich was that his brother Rod, the very chatty, seldom-at-a-loss for words ex-governor, had not called to congratulate him hours after the announcement, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“When it comes to my brother, I’ve grown accustomed to being an afterthought. So, it’s not a big deal for me,” Robert Blagojevich told the Sun-Times.

The case was dropped against Robert Blagojevich, who had been indicted on four corruption counts. The jury in the first trial deadlocked on all counts. Prosecutors still plan to retry brother Rod, who was convicted on only 1 of 24 counts.

The paper reported that reporters caught Rod Blagojevich on Thursday as he was leaving to go jogging and asked his reaction to the charges being dropped against his brother.

It “was long overdue,” Rod Blagojevich said, according to the Sun-Times.

“What happened to my brother should have never happened, and I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am for my brother and for his family that this nightmare for them is finally over,” he said.

The paper reported that after talking to reporters, Rod Blagojevich called his brother and left a message.

“I still love my brother,” Robert Blagojevich said, according to the Sun-Times. “I know he still loves me. I wish him well and want nothing but the best for him and his family.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Vows to “Follow the Law” in Torture Scandal

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr.

I’ll say it again, it’s a good idea to investigate allegations of torture, but it will be extremely difficult to charge someone in this case. It just seems so difficult to not only find the right law that would apply, but one that would lead to a successful prosecution.


WASHINGTON (CNN)
— Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that he would “follow the law” as he weighed potential prosecutions of Bush administration officials who authorized controversial harsh interrogation techniques.
Some groups want Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the issue.

Some groups want Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the issue.

In Holder’s first public comments on the issue since President Obama’s statements on the matter Tuesday, the attorney general responded to questions briefly and cautiously.

“We are going to follow the evidence, follow the law and take that where it leads. No one is above the law,” Holder said at an Earth Day event.

Some human rights groups have demanded that Holder appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the matter, but the attorney general appears to be in no hurry to decide how to proceed.

Obama said Tuesday that the attorney general would ultimately decide whether to proceed with prosecutions of those in the Bush administration who drew up the legal basis for aggressive interrogation techniques.

For Full Story

Legal Observers Say Feds Case Against Gov. Blagojevich May Not Be a Sure Thing

By Jon Perkins
ticklethewire.com

At first blush the case against scandal-plagued Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich would appear to be overwhelming.
Not so fast say some criminal defense lawyers. Though they say the public evidence against Blagojevich appears strong –hours and hours of damning conversations — truth is the tapes are only talk.
Plus, the governor has hired a formidable attorney in Ed Gensen, who represented singer R. Kelly in a child pornography trial that resulted in the entertainer’s acquittal.
The federal government, in a criminal complaint, accuses Blagojevich of trying to sell the Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama along with other public corruption.
But some attorneys see the allegations as being tough to prove.
“The tapes are just tapes,” said Michael Helfand of Chicago-based FindGreatLawyers.com.
Helfand suggests that a possible defense for Blagojevich could be that nothing actually happened in terms of the selling of the Senate seat; No quid pro quo.
“The logical defense is he was joking or talking smack in the office,” Helfand said. “It’s one thing to say the guy is slimy,” he said and another to prove he’s criminal. Another tactic the defense might try, he said, is to challenge whether the government had probable cause to secure wiretaps.

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