Prosecutors Given More Time to Indict Blagojevich

     (CN) – A federal judge in Chicago gave prosecutors an additional three months to obtain an indictment against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who faces corruption charges in a federal criminal complaint.

     U.S. District Judge James Holderman ruled Monday that the complexity of the complaint put an “unreasonable” expectation on prosecutors’ ability to build a case against Blagojevich in a shorter time period. According to Holderman, the standard 30-day deadline following Blagojevich’s arrest was too much of a time-crunch for prosecutors to file indictment charges and head to trial.
     “The ends of justice served by the extension outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendants in a speedy trial,” Holderman wrote.
     Prosecutors now have until April 7 to prepare a solid case against the two-term Democrat, who was arrested last month on corruption charges for allegedly trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, among other alleged schemes.
     Blagojevich, insisting on his innocence, recently appointed Roland Burris, a former attorney general, to the open Senate seat.
     But the Senate refused to “formally accept” the appointment on the basis that Burris’ papers lacked the secretary of state’s signature.
     Senate Democrats have vowed to reject anyone Blagojevich appointed from filling the vacancy.

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