Tag: Rod Blagojevich (page 2)

Blagojevich Judges Agrees Guidelines Too High

The sentencing hearing of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is underway. The judge has said he won't rule until tomorrow. The best place to follow is Twitter.

This morning the parties debated the sentencing guidelines. The Judge sided with the Government, finding the criminal activity was extensive, Blago had a leadership role and he tried to get $1.5 million for the senate seat. That puts the guidelines at 30 years to life.

"It should be noted that I agree with the government and the defense for that matter that the guideline that is correctly computed for this of 30 years to life is simply not appropriate given the facts of this case."

So the Judge will grant a departure and/or variance from the guidelines, but how much? [More...]

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Rod Blagojevich Sentencing Tuesday

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich faces sentencing tomorrow morning. The Government is seeking a 15 to 20 year sentence. In a filing today, prosecutors argued he has shown no remorse and continues to blame others for his predicament. From their filing, available on PACER:

Blagojevich repeatedly committed serious criminal acts that have done enormous damage to public confidence in Illinois government. He has refused to accept any responsibility for his criminal conduct, continues to blame others for his criminal misdeeds, and has no mitigating factors beyond those frequently found in this


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Tony Rezko Sentenced to 10 1/2 Years

Update: Tony Rezko was sentenced today to 10 1/2 years in prison. Since he's served 45 months, with good time of 54 days a year after the first year, he should be out in about 5 years.


Antoin (Tony) Rezko finally faces sentencing today in Chicago. Prosecutors are asking for 11 to 15 years. Rezko is asking for time served (53 months.)

Last week I read through the initial 100 pages of sentencing pleadings filed, and summarized the arguments.

On Friday, Rezko filed another response, alleging among other things:[More...]

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Gov't . Seeks 11 to 15 Year Sentence for Tony Rezko

Now that the last of the Chicago corruption cases related to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has concluded (with the conviction of William Cellini last week), it's finally time for Antoin (Tony) Rezko and Rod Blagojevich to learn their fate.

Today the Judge scheduled sentencing for Rod Blagojevich for December 6. The Government has not yet filed its sentencing statement. Tony Rezkco's sentencing is November 22 and the Court recently unsealed Rezko's sentencing position and ordered the Government's to be filed publicly. The Government filed its statement last Thursday, seeking 11 to 15 years for Rezko, which includes a reduction for cooperation and his harsh conditions of confinement. Rezko is seeking time served (44 months.)

I've just read through the 100 pages of pleadings. This post is long, but it contains both sides' arguments and is a lot shorter than the 100 pages filed by the parties. If you're so inclined, read through, and tell us what sentence you think Rezko should or will receive. [More..]

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Interview With Jurors in Rod Blagojevich Retrial

There was no holdout for "not guilty" in the retrial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. It's always interesting to get a glimpse of what goes on in the jury deliberation room, and the jurors in Blago's trial are talking.

Instead of secret votes, they used the "fist to five" method:

Secret ballots don’t show where people truly are, Wilson said, so the jurors resorted to what they called the “fist to five” method. If a juror’s fist was closed, Blagojevich was not guilty. If the juror showed five fingers, he was guilty.

“And then you have everything in between,” Wilson explained. “That led us to see openly people’s opinions of where they were in the process.”

The jurors didn't think Blagojevich was credible. They thought he was playing to them. Some of them found him personable, but thought the evidence of his guilt was overwhelming. The downside for Blago taking the stand is that if the Judge thinks he lied during his testimony, he will bump up his sentencing guidelines by two levels. Blago is free on bond until sentencing.

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Blagojevich Defense: Client is a "Motormouth" Who Never Got a Dime

Closing arguments have ended in the retrial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The jury has been instructed and will begin deliberating in the morning.

Crux of the defense closing: Rod never made a dime and is "a motor-mouth who talks endlessly" thinking out loud:

"He talked over me, over the judge, over the prosecutor,” said Goldstein, reminding jurors that when Blagojevich was on the stand he would often ignore his own attorney’s objections to questions from a prosecutor and answer before Zagel could rule.

“He likes to talk,” Goldstein said. “That’s all you heard. (Prosecutors) want you to believe this talk is a crime. It’s not. He floated ideas and that’s all it is.”


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Blagojevich Finishes Testimony, Closings Coming Soon

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich finished seven days of testimony today.

As he stepped off the stand, a jaunty Blagojevich tried to shake hands with lead prosecutor Reid Schar, but the government attorney turned away after the two had sparred for several days.

Judge James Zagel told jurors not to read anything into the rebuff, saying lawyers are instructed not to interact with witnesses.

At least one legal observer at the trial thought Blagojevich did better on the witness stand than expected. Does he have a chance? Can he persuade one juror? Team Blago may call a few more witnesses tomorrow, and then it's time for closing arguments.

Also today, Blagojevich wants the Judge to reconsider his refusal to introduce a transcrip in which Rahm asks Blago to appoint Forrest Claypool to the House seat Rahm was vacating. [More...]

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Rod Blagojevich: Prosecutors Begin Cross Examination

After five days of telling his story on direct examination, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is now undergoing cross-examination by prosecutors.

They began by asking him, "You are a convicted liar." He said "Yes."

More on his testimony here.

The cross-examination didn't begin until late this afternoon. Trial is now recessed until Monday. So Blagojevich gets the weekend to regroup. He better study hard.

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Rod Blagojevich Testifies at Re-Trial

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich testified in his defense today. He was on the stand for five hours and most of the testimony was just telling his life story to date.

Blagojevich began a meandering testimony that had all the melodrama and filigree of a Lifetime movie. It began with his childhood and moved to his college years and beyond in a five-hour performance, one that was not finished by the time the court adjourned for the day. The intricacies were as crosshatched as the tie he wore.

He was self-deprecating, humorous and congenial. [More...]

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Rahm Emanuel Testifies in Blagojevich Retrial

The defense called Rahm Emanuel today in the retrial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Emanuel was on the stand for 3 minutes.

In quick fashion, Sorosky asked Emanuel if anyone had ever asked him when he was congressman in 2006 to have his brother arrange a fundraiser for the governor in exchange for release of a $2 million grant to a school in Emanuel’s congressional district.

"No,” Emanuel said curtly. The mayor also said “no” when questioned if he had ever been asked to set up a nonprofit for Blagojevich to run in exchange for a appointing Obama friend Valerie Jarrett to the U.S. Senate.

Jesse Jackson, Jr. also testified as a defense witness today. [More...]

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No Trial Delay for Rod Blagojevich

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has lost his bid to delay his retrial on corruption charges. Jury selection will be begin next Wednesday.

The Judge today also denied Blagojevich's motion seeking notes from the FBI interview of President Barack Obama when he was President-elect, saying the notes contained no information that could be used to impeach witnesses.

Also at issue: How much evidence the government can introduce about Blago's spending -- particularly on suits.

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Rod Blagojevich Seeks Dismissal, Cites Payment Freeze on Attorney Funds

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has filed a motion to dismiss his criminal charges, set for trial in April.

His lawyers cite the recent budgetary freeze on payments to court-appointed counsel. They say they haven't been paid in 9 months, and are unable to retain experts to challenge the Government's evidence. The motion is here.

The financial hardship .... has created a vast inequity in this case between the government and the defense. The government continues to have every resource at its disposal. Yet, the defense is stymied in its ability to prepare for trial.

Blagojevich has the right to a fair trial and to present a defense, as well as the right to effective assistance of counsel. (U.S. Const. Amends V, VI). Blagojevich’s aforementioned rights cannot be sustained under the current economic situation.

Blagojevich is asking to be sentenced now on the single count he was convicted of at his first trial, making a false statement to the F.B.I. That charge carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison. [More...]

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