It took nearly three years and two trials but a federal jury has convicted former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on a wide range of corruption-related charges, specifically allegations that he tried to sell President Obama’s senate seat for a personal gain back in 2008. Jurors found Blagojevich guilty yesterday on 17 of 20 counts. The charges include 10 counts of wire fraud, 2 counts each of attempted extortion, soliciting bribes, conspiracy to commit extortion, and one count of conspiracy to solicit and accept bribes.
The jury found Blagojevich not guilty on the allegation that he attempted to extort then- Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff and now Chicago’s mayor. Blagojevich is known for welcoming cameras and the opportunity to speak with the media but after the verdict, he appeared more subdued. He said, “One of the many lessons I learned from this experience is try to speak a little less so I’ll keep my remarks kind of short. Patti and I are disappointed in the outcome. I frankly am stunned.”
Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald says the jury sent a message that corruption is a mayor problem. He called Blagojevich’s dealings “political corruption crime spree.” Sentencing for Blagojevich is scheduled for August 1st. The former governor faces up to 300 years in prison but the Chicago Tribune reports he will more likely get close to 10 years. The conviction would make Blagojevich the 4th Illinois governor in recent memory to go to prison.