Blagojevich Convicted of|1 of 24 Counts: Lying to FBI

     (CN) – A federal jury on Tuesday convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of lying to the FBI, just one of the 24 counts against him. Jurors said they were deadlocked on the other 23 counts, including charges that Blagojevich tried to sell President Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat.

     Jurors were also hung on the four corruption charges against the former governor’s brother, Robert Blagojevich.
     U.S. District Judge James Zagel declared a mistrial on the 23 counts and gave prosecutors until Aug. 26 to decide if they want to retry the brothers.
     Rod Blagojevich faces up to 5 years in prison for lying to the FBI.
     He maintained his innocence throughout the two-month trial, during which jurors heard secretly recorded phone calls of the former governor allegedly plotting to use his power to extort political donations.
     Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9, 2008 on corruption charges.
     His former chief of staff, John Harris, later pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud, admitting that he had helped Blagojevich “by suggesting means by which Blagojevich could secure personal benefits for himself in exchange for appointing a United States Senator.”
      Last January, the Illinois Senate voted 59-0 to remove him as governor and held another vote, also unanimous, to bar him from public office.
      Blagojevich, who appeared triumphant after hearing the verdict, according to the Los Angeles Times, high-fived spectators and shook their hands, saying, “God bless you, God bless you, I didn’t let you down.”
     Prosecutors vowed to retry the case.
     “It is absolutely our intent to retry this,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar told the Times.

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