Breaking: Jury reaches verdict in trial of “America’s governor”; Update: Convicted on one count, jury hangs on other 23; Update: Feds say they’ll retry Blago

posted at 5:24 pm on August 17, 2010 by Allahpundit

C’mon, he really is America’s governor. A deeply unpopular Chicago cronyist and a smug, silly pseudo-celebrity: Is there anyone who better represents the sheer crapulence of American politics circa 2010 than Blago? Imagine if we elected a guy like that president.

Here’s your reaction thread in case you’re watching cable news; we should have a verdict by 6 p.m. ET. One ominous note per Ace: Why did the jury ask the judge for a copy of the oath they took before trial? Do they really need reminding that they swore to deliver an honest verdict? Or is this just par for the course in Chicago?

Update: As of five days ago, they were deadlocked on 22 of 24 counts. As of today, they’ve been deliberating for more than two weeks. I’m guessing that means we’re going to see an awful lot of “oh, the hell with it” acquittals here.

Update: Unbelievable.

A federal jury today convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of one count against him: lying to the FBI. The jury was deadlocked on the other 23 counts against the former governor, and all four counts against his brother.

Gabe Malor notes on Twitter that that was one of the counts Martha Stewart was convicted on. Question: What now? Is the U.S. Attorney going to re-try him or do we sentence him to parole on the lying charge so that he can jump into the Kirk/Giannoulias race and fulfill his destiny?

Update: The case is too high-profile for the feds to walk away, so as expected, Patrick Fitzgerald says it’s on to a retrial.

Update: Ace e-mails with a new theory: What if the jury was split 11-1 to convict on the remaining counts? That might explain why they wanted a copy of the oath — to confront the holdout with his duty to render an honest verdict. It also raises the disturbing question of what kind of juror would be so invested in seeing Blagojevich walk that he’d hold out for two weeks against 11 increasingly frustrated colleagues.

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Well, Fitzy pulled the plug on the wiretaps and publicized it early to avoid influencing the presidential elections by showing Scooter as dirty, so he didn’t catch Blago with his hand completely inside the cookie jar. His choice on timing and motive for handling it that way.

a capella on August 17, 2010 at 6:03 PM

W T F ?

WisCon on August 17, 2010 at 6:03 PM

If anyone else was up on 24 federal counts they would be screwed, nice to be a dem in chi-town!

tim c on August 17, 2010 at 6:03 PM

This is the exact same guilt Martha Stewart had.

seven on August 17, 2010 at 6:04 PM

Call me cynical, but the plans for a retrial are just an attempt by the Blago-Fitzpatrick team to get an early pardon out of Teh Won.

steveegg on August 17, 2010 at 6:04 PM

Forget it Jake, it’s Chitown.

YYZ on August 17, 2010 at 6:05 PM

So in essence the feds could retry him because of the mistrials in most of the counts. So if he was found innocent on most of the counts the feds won’t be able to retry him again on them.. got it.

Brain freeze sorry.

TimeTraveler on August 17, 2010 at 6:05 PM

How does double jeopardy exactly work? Can someone explain why the feds can retry him on the same crimes he was excused from?

TimeTraveler on August 17, 2010 at 6:01 PM

A mistrial declaration effectively means that the trial never happened, so double jeopardy doesn’t come into play.

steveegg on August 17, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Scooter Libby says this sucks.

di butler on August 17, 2010 at 6:06 PM

How does double jeopardy exactly work? Can someone explain why the feds can retry him on the same crimes he was excused from?

TimeTraveler on August 17, 2010 at 6:01 PM

It was a hung-jury which isn’t the same as being found not guilty. On those 23 counts there’s no double jeopardy involved.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 17, 2010 at 6:07 PM

What if the jury was split 11-1 to convict on the remaining counts? That might explain why they wanted a copy of the oath — to confront the holdout with his duty to render an honest verdict.

That was a great movie. 12 Angry Men.

RepubChica on August 17, 2010 at 6:07 PM

I can’t help it, I am laughing my head off here. He is such a rogue, a charismatic rogue, but rogue nonetheless.

I am not unhappy they didn’t get him. Too funny!!!!!!!!!

Almost makes up for the railroad job of Scooter Libby and Martha Stewart. When all else fails, throw them in the slammer for LYING!!!!!!!!! Geesh.

karenhasfreedom on August 17, 2010 at 6:10 PM

Was he under oath when talking to the FBI? Then why make it a crime to lie to investigators?

Tim Burton on August 17, 2010 at 6:01 PM

How does double jeopardy exactly work? Can someone explain why the feds can retry him on the same crimes he was excused from?

TimeTraveler on August 17, 2010 at 6:01 PM

Lying under oath is perjury. Lying to investigators is…lying to investigators. A different crime.

No double jeopardy if there’s a mistrial. Otherwise the defense could do something outrageous in front of the jury that an instruction to disregard would not fix, get a mistrial, and the defendant walks.

Wethal on August 17, 2010 at 6:11 PM

A mistrial declaration effectively means that the trial never happened, so double jeopardy doesn’t come into play.

steveegg on August 17, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Wouldn’t one assume though, that on the second time around, the Feds better have a little better evidence than the first time?

LastRick on August 17, 2010 at 6:11 PM

[Great Movie Scenes] …And Justice For All – Ending Scene

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sOeY6ZVG2U

canopfor on August 17, 2010 at 6:12 PM

Btw: The US attorney is Fitzgerald-not Fitzpatrick…and he crosses me as someone interested in justice. When teh One was elected people were wondering if Zero was going to dismiss Fitzgerald because he was going after quite a few Chicago democrats.
I rather doubt that he’s in Zero’s pocket.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 17, 2010 at 6:12 PM

I’d be checking the spending of who ever held out against a conviction.

thekingtut on August 17, 2010 at 6:12 PM

Has anyone already said “Runaway Jury”?

Crazy stuff, but it is Chicago.

conservative pilgrim on August 17, 2010 at 6:12 PM

Wouldn’t one assume though, that on the second time around, the Feds better have a little better evidence than the first time?

LastRick on August 17, 2010 at 6:11 PM

You’re assuming that Fitzgerald (happy, annoyinglittletwerp?) wants another bite at the apple. Remember the Blagos didn’t mount a defense and they still avoided guilty convictions on 27 of 28 counts.

steveegg on August 17, 2010 at 6:14 PM

So who let Jesse Jackson Jr. Jr. on the jury?

Can we now dispense with the Patrick Fitzgerald competence meme?

(That guy always reminds me of the old joke about the two gay guys- Patrick Fitzgerald and Gerald Fitzpatrick).

2ipa on August 17, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Sounds like he got to somebody.

Terrye on August 17, 2010 at 6:16 PM

You’re assuming that Fitzgerald (happy, annoyinglittletwerp?) wants another bite at the apple. Remember the Blagos didn’t mount a defense and they still avoided guilty convictions on 27 of 28 counts.

steveegg on August 17, 2010 at 6:14 PM

I just heard they intend to retry.

Terrye on August 17, 2010 at 6:17 PM

You’re assuming that Fitzgerald (happy, annoyinglittletwerp?) wants another bite at the apple. Remember the Blagos didn’t mount a defense and they still avoided guilty convictions on 27 of 28 counts.

steveegg on August 17, 2010 at 6:14 PM
Respectfully, I’ve lived within the same 10 mile area of where I sit all but maybe 3 of my soon to be 40 years.
This is my state and I try to keep up with the politics.
There were 24 counts. He was count guilty on count 24 and there was a hung jury on counts 1-23.
Fitzgerald has already said that he will retry Blago on those counts.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 17, 2010 at 6:20 PM

I just heard they intend to retry.

Terrye on August 17, 2010 at 6:17 PM

Fitzgerald and company pretty much have to say that. I have serious doubts their hearts would be into it.

steveegg on August 17, 2010 at 6:22 PM

Respectfully, I’ve lived within the same 10 mile area of where I sit all but maybe 3 of my soon to be 40 years.
This is my state and I try to keep up with the politics.
There were 24 counts. He was count guilty on count 24 and there was a hung jury on counts 1-23.
Fitzgerald has already said that he will retry Blago on those counts.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 17, 2010 at 6:20 PM

And I’ve been a stone’s throw from that state for those same 40 years, and catching news from Chicago for most of those 40. Fitzgerald’s heart won’t be in it, and I’m predicting a short-circuit pardon now that it won’t be purely pre-emptive.

steveegg on August 17, 2010 at 6:24 PM

Just heard that the jury is opting not to speak to the press and are headed home…..go figure.

tencole on August 17, 2010 at 6:24 PM

How does double jeopardy exactly work? Can someone explain why the feds can retry him on the same crimes he was excused from?

TimeTraveler on August 17, 2010 at 6:01 PM

I’m no lawyer, but I don’t think he was “excused” from any crimes.

Gang-of-One on August 17, 2010 at 6:25 PM

Lying to the FBI? They could probably get Mother Theresa on such a charge. Do you actually expect a Chicago politician to tell the truth?

rbj on August 17, 2010 at 6:26 PM

Just heard that the jury is opting not to speak to the press and are headed home…..go figure.

tencole on August 17, 2010 at 6:24 PM

Surf-and-turf is a very tempting meal.

steveegg on August 17, 2010 at 6:27 PM

Anyone remember this…?

Seven Percent Solution on August 17, 2010 at 6:27 PM

It is much harder to get a second jury to convict him. The jurors are alert to prosecutorial overreach. What I read about the evidence was that the DA forgot to put in any evidence that Blago did anything close to the charges against him.

jimw on August 17, 2010 at 6:28 PM

A second trial would be a waste of money.

SC.Charlie on August 17, 2010 at 6:32 PM

The Wreck of the Patrick Fitzgerald

Del Dolemonte on August 17, 2010 at 6:35 PM

To Fitzgerald: Let it go.

DrStock on August 17, 2010 at 6:37 PM

A second trial would be a waste of money.

SC.Charlie on August 17, 2010 at 6:32 PM

Especially since his defense will be paid by the American taxpayer.

Del Dolemonte on August 17, 2010 at 6:38 PM

BTW have there been any developments in the investigation into Blago’s wife?

Del Dolemonte on August 17, 2010 at 6:38 PM

C’mon people. look at the bright side. Blago LOVES to be in front of the camera and hear himself talk.

My collie says:

And the more he does, the more independent voters are reminded about who the Demonrats really are.

I think they should give him a reality TV show.

CyberCipher on August 17, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Fitzgerald made the mistake of pulling the plug on the investigation before the crime was committed.
Or was it intentionally cut short to keep others out of the hot seat?

iceman1960 on August 17, 2010 at 6:45 PM

BLAGO IS JUST A VICTIM OF GOOD-HAIR HATING PEOPLE!!!

this is the same clown prosecutor who went after libby…and probably stopped the investigation before it reached into the white house…

right4life on August 17, 2010 at 6:45 PM

The Wreck of the Patrick Fitzgerald

Del Dolemonte on August 17, 2010 at 6:35 PM

Well done. Very well crafted! :-)

Mallard T. Drake on August 17, 2010 at 6:52 PM

Anyone remember this…?

Seven Percent Solution on August 17, 2010 at 6:27 PM

Seven Percent Solution: The tone of that press conference,
was that of a condemned man!!:)

canopfor on August 17, 2010 at 6:56 PM

The Wreck of the Patrick Fitzgerald

Del Dolemonte on August 17, 2010 at 6:35 PM

Del Dolemonte: You is baaaaaaaaaaaad,me likey tho!!

canopfor on August 17, 2010 at 7:00 PM

I love Huffpo’s teaser for their report, “Jury Convicts Blago On ONLY ONE Count Of Lying To FBI.”

They’re proud he’s only slightly scummy.

Speechlesstx on August 17, 2010 at 7:07 PM

while I admit that I believe Blago is guilty – I can see a juror (or more) withholding a guilty verdict knowing that Barack Hussein Obama lied and was also involved in the pay for play scheme – as was Jesse Jackson, Jr. and the union thugs delivering messages for BHO.

Blago’s worst crime was being too demanding and indicating that he possibly wasn’t going to play with BHO unless he paid enough. I feel quite certain that one of the “dealers” set him up because of his being difficult. Yes, Blago did it – but no one would know if he’d played nice.

katablog.com on August 17, 2010 at 7:26 PM

Retrial? Three words. Change. Of. Venue!

PakviRoti on August 17, 2010 at 7:45 PM

Lying under oath is perjury. Lying to investigators is…lying to investigators. A different crime.

No double jeopardy if there’s a mistrial. Otherwise the defense could do something outrageous in front of the jury that an instruction to disregard would not fix, get a mistrial, and the defendant walks.

Wethal on August 17, 2010 at 6:11 PM

Shouldn’t be. You’re not under oath.

Tim Burton on August 17, 2010 at 7:45 PM

Lying under oath is perjury. Lying to investigators is…lying to investigators. A different crime.

No double jeopardy if there’s a mistrial. Otherwise the defense could do something outrageous in front of the jury that an instruction to disregard would not fix, get a mistrial, and the defendant walks.

Wethal on August 17, 2010 at 6:11 PM

Shouldn’t be. You’re not under oath.

Tim Burton on August 17, 2010 at 7:45 PM

I agree. That’s only for federal btw, you can lie your face off to state or city cops. Why the difference? This is the only thing they got Martha Stewart on too.

slickwillie2001 on August 17, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Look for the one recently retired City of Chicago or Cook County payroller and Democrap Party activist on the jury and you’ll have your story.

This filth permeates the mob/political machine of Rich “Squeaky” Daley. Probably has a daughter working for the city and got the promise that her career was over if their was a conviction.

Jaibones on August 17, 2010 at 8:24 PM

(there … good grief)

Jaibones on August 17, 2010 at 8:25 PM

The Wreck of the Patrick Fitzgerald

Del Dolemonte on August 17, 2010 at 6:35 PM

Well played.

Fitzgerald is a Democrap patsy and a fraud.

Jaibones on August 17, 2010 at 8:26 PM

The Chicago Sun Times is reporting:

But one juror said from her Itasca home that there was only one juror who held out. Juror Erik Sarnello said the panel was deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting the former Illinois governor of trying to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat. A female holdout “just didn’t see what we all saw,” said Sarnello, 21.

Barnestormer on August 17, 2010 at 8:39 PM

The Chicago Sun Times is reporting:

But one juror said from her Itasca home that there was only one juror who held out. Juror Erik Sarnello said the panel was deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting the former Illinois governor of trying to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat. A female holdout “just didn’t see what we all saw,” said Sarnello, 21.

Barnestormer on August 17, 2010 at 8:39 PM

Look for the woman doing a Miracle Mile shopping spree tonight and you’ll find the holdout.

steveegg on August 17, 2010 at 8:42 PM

Anybody who saw The Untouchables with Kevin Costner knows why that jury was deadlocked.

Kafir on August 17, 2010 at 8:57 PM

You can bet some of the higher ups in the Chicago Democratic Machine Circle are not happy with what happened today. Blago is an official embarrassment, not to mention a serious thorn in the sides of people like Mayor Daley, Michael Madigan, Gov. Quinn, and the list goes on. All of them would very much like to see Blago go away to prison for a very very long time. The fact there is going to be a retrial only makes them sweat a little colder than before.

pilamaye on August 17, 2010 at 9:23 PM

and the list goes on.

pilamaye on August 17, 2010 at 9:23 PM

Indeed: the “Witness List” for Blago II.

Barnestormer on August 17, 2010 at 9:29 PM

I lived in Chicago for several years, quite some time ago. But they took a perverse kind of pride in how corrupt the town is, sort of bragged about it… I never did understand it.

jodetoad on August 17, 2010 at 9:58 PM

The Sun Times article has been expanded as more jury comments have come out:

In interviews, jurors said the group deadlocked on a number of counts. While one juror said there was only one person against convicting the former governor on trying to sell President Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, another said there was as many as seven against convicting him on some counts.

“I’m very regretful that we could not reach a unanimous verdict,’’ said jury foreman James Matsumoto, 66, of the Northwest Side. “ . . . There was a fundamental difference in opinion.’’

While Matsumoto said he voted to convict on all counts, others thought there was “no smoking gun’’ and Blagojevich was “all talk,’’ Matsumoto said.

While Matsumoto wouldn’t go into specific charges, Juror Erik Sarnello, of Itasca, said the panel was deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting on the Senate seat charge. A female holdout “just didn’t see what we all saw,” said Sarnello, 21.

Barnestormer on August 17, 2010 at 10:03 PM

Haven’t read any of the comments yet, but here is my take on it.

What a joke the Blago trial turned out to be. This was nothing but politics involved here. Fitzgerald halted the investigation when it was getting a little too close to 0bama. They had 24 counts against Blago and could get only 1 conviction. But, Fitzgerald went full bore against Scooty Libby when it was known that he hadn’t outed Plame, but Ameritage had and he got off scot free. Talk about an abortion of justice.

Mirimichi on August 17, 2010 at 11:36 PM

So in essence the feds could retry him because of the mistrials in most of the counts. So if he was found innocent on most of the counts the feds won’t be able to retry him again on them.. got it.

Brain freeze sorry.

TimeTraveler on August 17, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Hung Jury = Mistrial

Basically that means it’s a do-over.

Tim Burton on August 18, 2010 at 12:23 AM

I agree. That’s only for federal btw, you can lie your face off to state or city cops. Why the difference? This is the only thing they got Martha Stewart on too.

slickwillie2001 on August 17, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Exactly, shouldn’t be a crime to lie when not under oath, except in trying to bring false charges against someone. I don’t like someone lying about their location or actions, but I have seen too many hit jobs using that law, because they were innocent in other areas.

I’m no fan of Martha, but it was a hatchet job. Then again, I agree with Thomas Sowell that insider trading shouldn’t be illegal….

Tim Burton on August 18, 2010 at 12:26 AM

A Juror in Chicago holding out for nefarious reasons? Never

If they’d pay for a Senate seat, they’d pay to keep him safe so he shuts his mouth about who did it.

Rbastid on August 18, 2010 at 1:25 AM

But one juror said from her Itasca home that there was only one juror who held out. Juror Erik Sarnello said the panel was deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting the former Illinois governor of trying to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat. A female holdout “just didn’t see what we all saw,” said Sarnello, 21.

The holdout juror will probably be the next Senator from Illinois, and will run for President in 2016. That’s the Chicago Way.

Steve Z on August 18, 2010 at 10:05 AM

I have seen and heard tell of some ridiculous things that go on in jury rooms. I am not at all surprised that this is the result- particularly when the best and brightest among us feel that they are “too important” to serve jury duty. The only people who end up serving are those who are too stupid to get out of it.

Jewels on August 18, 2010 at 6:23 PM

Hair today, gone tomorrow?

AP, if you knew your country’s history, you would know that the actual quote is the much more appropriate, “Hair today, goon tomorrow” (note at 3:12 of this clip).

Knott Buyinit on August 18, 2010 at 10:55 PM

Update: Ace e-mails with a new theory: What if the jury was split 11-1 to convict on the remaining counts? That might explain why they wanted a copy of the oath — to confront the holdout with his duty to render an honest verdict. It also raises the disturbing question of what kind of juror would be so invested in seeing Blagojevich walk that he’d hold out for two weeks against 11 increasingly frustrated colleagues.

One who was bought and/or threatened The Chicago Way. :/

Theophile on August 18, 2010 at 11:16 PM

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