Blago guilty on 1 out of 24 counts

Former Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich was found guilty in a federal court in Chicago yesterday on one count of lying to the FBI. The jury was hung on 23 other counts, including a lone holdout juror who prevented the panel from convicting Blagojevich of charges that he was trying to sell Obama's senate seat.

The Chicago Sun Times:


"The lack of a smoking gun was one of the major flaws that we had addressed," said jury foreman James Matsumoto, 66, a retired videotape librarian from WTTW Channel 11 who lives on Chicago's Northwest Side.One holdout juror stood in the way of convicting the former governor on the most explosive charges -- that Blagojevich attempted to sell President Obama's U.S. Senate seat. But jurors were sharply divided on other counts.

The Senate seat counts made up nine of the wire fraud counts against Blagojevich and each one was linked to a recorded phone call -- largely viewed as solid evidence.

"There was a fundamental difference in opinion,'' Matsumoto said, noting the split varied.

In some cases it was 7-5. In others it was 6-6. On some counts, there was just one holdout. Matsumoto said they cast their votes on secret ballots.

Matsumoto said he wanted to convict on all counts, but others strongly disagreed.

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could decide to retry Blagojevich on any or all counts of which he was not convicted. It could be, say some observers, that Fitzgerald anticipated such problems because his two star witnesses - Obama buddy Tony Rezko and moneyman Stuart Levin - did not testify in the trial.

Rezko especially could have given the jury an earful about Blago's machinations. He was present during a lot of the pay for play plotting and actually suggested one such gambit. There is also a chance he may have drawn Obama into the trial which could be one reason he was never called.

No date has been set for sentencing.

Former Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich was found guilty in a federal court in Chicago yesterday on one count of lying to the FBI. The jury was hung on 23 other counts, including a lone holdout juror who prevented the panel from convicting Blagojevich of charges that he was trying to sell Obama's senate seat.

The Chicago Sun Times:


"The lack of a smoking gun was one of the major flaws that we had addressed," said jury foreman James Matsumoto, 66, a retired videotape librarian from WTTW Channel 11 who lives on Chicago's Northwest Side.

One holdout juror stood in the way of convicting the former governor on the most explosive charges -- that Blagojevich attempted to sell President Obama's U.S. Senate seat. But jurors were sharply divided on other counts.

The Senate seat counts made up nine of the wire fraud counts against Blagojevich and each one was linked to a recorded phone call -- largely viewed as solid evidence.

"There was a fundamental difference in opinion,'' Matsumoto said, noting the split varied.

In some cases it was 7-5. In others it was 6-6. On some counts, there was just one holdout. Matsumoto said they cast their votes on secret ballots.

Matsumoto said he wanted to convict on all counts, but others strongly disagreed.

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could decide to retry Blagojevich on any or all counts of which he was not convicted. It could be, say some observers, that Fitzgerald anticipated such problems because his two star witnesses - Obama buddy Tony Rezko and moneyman Stuart Levin - did not testify in the trial.

Rezko especially could have given the jury an earful about Blago's machinations. He was present during a lot of the pay for play plotting and actually suggested one such gambit. There is also a chance he may have drawn Obama into the trial which could be one reason he was never called.

No date has been set for sentencing.

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