7th Circuit Refuses to Delay Blagojevich Trial

     (CN) – The 7th Circuit on Tuesday rejected defense lawyers’ efforts to push back former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial, which is scheduled to start on June 3.

     Michael E. Ettinger, attorney for Blagojevich’s brother and co-defendant Robert Blagojevich, vowed to appeal. “We are going to the Supreme Court,” he told The Associated Press.
     Defense attorneys asked the Chicago-based appeals court to postpone the case pending the Supreme Court’s ruling in cases challenging the federal honest services fraud law, the basis for many of the charges against the former governor.
     The 7th Circuit said the argument “might give us pause” had the charges for deprivation of honest services been the only counts. “However, the defendants face additional charges” and “cannot demonstrate that the challenged orders are effectively unreviewable at the end of the case,” the court wrote in refusing to delay the trial.
     The Blagojevich brothers have pleaded not guilty to a slew of corruption charges, including allegations that they schemed to sell or trade President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat for money or a job.
     The former Illinois governor was charged with 16 felony counts, including racketeering, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy and lying to federal agents. Each count carries prison terms of five to 20 years and up to $250,000 in fines.
     A month after his Dec. 9, 2008 arrest, Rod Blagojevich was impeached by the Illinois House of Representatives and the state Senate, which voted 59-0 to remove him from office.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” he insisted in a plea to the Senate chamber.

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