CHICAGO (CN) – Disgraced Gov. Rod Blagojevich seeks acquittal and a new trial, claiming he was convicted of 17 of 20 corruption counts in “a fundamentally unfair trial, at which the defense was handicapped beyond repair by the court’s rulings in favor of the government.”
“From start to finish, the retrial in this case was stacked in favor of the government and each ruling contributed to the untenable convictions,” Blagojevich says in a 158-page motion for a new trial, whose 4-page Table of Contents claims, among other things, that “The Court essentially denied all of the defense’s motions.”
Blagojevich claims that the judge was biased; that his own attorneys’ motions, pretrial, during trial and post-trial, were improperly denied and the government’s motions improperly granted; from the voir dire all the way through Blago’s request for a mistrial.
The federal jury in June found Blagojevich guilty on 17 of 20 counts at retrial in June. The key charge was that as governor Blagojevich had tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.
In his first trial, a jury convicted Blagojevich only of lying to the FBI; the jury hung on the other charges in that trial, which ended in August 2010.
A second jury nailed him.
In their 168-page motion, Blagojevich’s four attorneys claim the retrial was botched by improper admission of wiretaps, manipulation of potential jurors and that the repeated rulings in favor of the prosecution hampered Blagojevich’s attorneys from mounting a proper defense.
“Many of the errors from the Blagojevich trial are reversible errors in their own independent right,” the motion states. “Even despite that, the ‘avalanche of errors’ is so great in the instant case … that a new trial should be granted.”
Blagojevich was impeached by the Illinois House in January 2009, by vote of 114-1, one month to the day after he was arrested on charges that included conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. The state Senate convicted him by unanimous vote on Jan. 29, 2009, and he was removed from office and barred for life from holding office in Illinois.
The government is expected to respond to the motion in August.