By Juanita Bratcher
A federal jury yesterday convicted former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on one of 24 counts – lying to federal agents, but was deadlocked on 23 others.
Shortly after the verdict, U.S. Attorney Patrick FitzgeraldÂ was swift in vowing thatÂ he would retry the case, which was met with opposition from Defense Attorneys Sam Adam Sr. and Sam Adam Jr.
Fitzgerald after making a statement to the media was not open to questions from the media.
“For all practical purposes we are in the mode of being close to jury selection for a retrial,” Fitzgerald stated.
But Blagojevich and his attorneys gave a litany of strong adjectives in referring to Fitzgerald’s statement of having a retrial of the case.
Blagojevich, speaking to reporters in the lobby of the federal courthouse, continued to declare his innocence in corruption charges brought against him.
“This is a persecution. We have police officers who areÂ being gunned down on the streets. We have children who can’t play in front of their homes in the summertime because they might get gunned down and we have a prosecutor who has wasted and wants to spend tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to keep persecuting me, persecuting my family, take me away from my little girls, as well as take my home away from me.”
Blagojevich also sent a message to the people of Illinois: “From the very beginning when this all happened, I told them that I did not let them down, I didn’t break any laws, I didnâ€™tÂ do anything wrong…”
The former governor thankedÂ “the men and women of the jury for what they came up with. Most people say you can’t fight city hall, and most people have said from the very beginning when the federal government and those prosecutors come after you like they did me, and they threw everything they could at me including the kitchen sink, 24 charges that I have said from the beginning are false and the jury agreed that the government did not prove its case. And let me also point out, let me also point out that we didn’t even put a defense on and the government couldn’t prove its case.”
The jury was deadlocked on all four counts against Robert Blagojevich, the former governor’s brother.
Governor Pat Quinn who served as lieutenant governor under Blagojevich, said:Â Â “Clearly, today is a sad day for our state.â€™â€™
Alexi Giannoulias, Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, said the people of Illinois deserve leaders they can trust.
“And on November 2nd, the voters of Illinois will reject Mark Kirk for lying,” said Giannoulias, alluding to press reports that Kirk had misrepresented his credentials in his bio.
Pat Brady, Chairman of the Illinois GOP Party, in a statement said:
â€œWe extend our gratitude to the men and women of the jury for their sacrifice and hard work. They had a difficult job, as demonstrated by their many days of deliberations. The fact that Rod Blagojevich was convicted on only one of the counts against him does not take away from his serious breach of the Publicâ€™s trust.Â
â€œFrom his infamous â€œbleeping goldenâ€ remark to his attempt to shake down Childrenâ€™s Memorial Hospital, Blagojevich was all about pay-to-play. The lack of any real defense and Blagoâ€™s refusal to testify spoke volumes.Pat Quinn, Mike Madigan and the Democrats stood by this man, supported his re-election and later denied the public the right to a special election for the U.S. Senate seat Blagojevich had tried to sell. The trial also showed that Blagoâ€™s scheming was going on in the earliest days of his administration, and yet Quinn, Madigan and the Democrats were silent.â€
As for a retrial, Brady saidÂ he fully supports Fitzgerald’s decision to seek a retrial of Blagojevich.
â€œLetâ€™s be clear, Rod Blagojevich isnâ€™t concerned about the use of taxpayer money; he is concerned about the use of Rod Blagojevichâ€™s money to mount another high-priced defense.
â€œWell, Rod should be worried.Â With Broadway Bank closed, Iâ€™m not really sure where heâ€™s going to find a bank willing to loan millions to a convicted felon.â€
Â Atty. Sam Adam, Sr. said â€œThe entire case was a black eye for Illinois, but made even worse by the fact that Fitzgerald is “a master at indicting people for non-criminal behavior. This guy is nuts.”
In referring to Fitzgerald’s declaration as to why he approved charges against the former governor in a December 2008 arrest, that Blagojevich had been on a corruption crime spree that “would make Lincoln roll over in his grave,” Adam Sr. said the U.S. Attorney was “Trampling people’s constitutional rights.
Blagojevich described it as “â€¦a government that uses allÂ its resources at its disposal, tens of millions of dollars. They told you they were stopping a crime spree before it happens. And ultimately when they had a chance to prove their case, they couldn’t prove it. There was no crime spree. There was no corruption. I have been lied about and you have been lied to.”
The jury wasÂ deadlocked 11-1 over whether Blagojevich tried to sell the Senate seat left vacant by Barack Obama.
Said Blagojevich: “We’re going to appeal that lying decision and we’re hopeful that the law is on our side with regard to that.”