Fresh from the Chicago Sun-Times, the conviction of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Democrat, on 17 of 20 counts for trying to horse-trade the seat of outgoing Senator Barack Obama:
Blagojevich had his hands clasped as he listened to the guilty verdicts read aloud in court, then leaned back into his chair as he heard all the guilty determinations.His wife, Patti Blagojevich, began crying before the verdicts were even read. As each "guilty" was read, she sank into her brother’s shoulder. Aftward, she buried her head in her husband’s shoulder, and he put a hand on her back to comfort her.
In a January 2009 interview that became an issue in the just-concluded trial, Mr. Blagojevich said it would be "absolutely" wrong to exchange the seat for anything of value to him. Last year, Mr. Blagojevich was convicted of lying to the FBI. Now he faces an amount of prison time aptly described as really, really long. The judge left the sentencing date open.
NBC News reports that the three charges on which the jury did not convict Mr. Blagojevich include two having to do with the Illinois Tollway (counts 16 and 17 here) and one involving an alleged shakedown of former Congressman Rahm Emanuel for a grant to a school in his district (count 11).
The office of Republican Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois weighs in with this: "Today's verdict is a stark reminder that no one is above the law." Mr. Kirk is co-sponsoring the Congressional Integrity and Pension Forfeiture Act, which would take away the pensions of lawmakers convicted of public corruption committed while holding any government office.