Rod Blagojevich gets a break on at least some of the court convictions which sent him to prison for 14 years. Blago is not going home to Chicago just yet though, he will remain in federal prison in Colorado pending a possible retrial.
Nearly 12 years reportedly remain on the prison sentence which was issued after Rod Blagojevich was found guilty of attempting to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat, and other political corruption related charges. Either prosecutors will have to retry Blago on the overturned counts or resentence him based on the remaining convictions.
A total of 12 of the corruption counts were not overturned and will remain in place until an appeals court rules the matter. The lack of an immediate release was “very disappointing” by Patti Blagojevich, the former elected official’s wife.
The Democratic former Illinois governor’s convictions were overturned by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on Tuesday. The federal court decision reportedly means that Blago, 58, or inmate No. 40892-424, as corrections officers refer to him, may not have to serve all of his original prison sentence.
“Because we have affirmed the convictions on most counts and concluded that the advisory sentencing range lies above 168 months, Blagojevich is not entitled to be released pending these further proceedings,” the circuit court ruling stated.
The decision also stated that even though several convictions were tossed, that does not mean the original 14-year prison sentence was too high.
Blago served two terms as governor in Illinois and maintained his innocence for several years while making the rounds on both news and talk shows. During a 2011 retrial, Blago said that he was a flawed man, he was not a criminal.
The appeals court ruled jurors in the Blagojevich trial were not “properly instructed on how to handle a specific instance of alleged corruption.” The then-Illinois Governor had reportedly proposed the appointment of Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s adviser, to the vacated Senate seat in exchange for a position on the developing Obama cabinet.
The ruling jurors were not instructed about the distinction between whether Blago was doing his wheeling and dealing for private gain or for political benefit.
“We conclude, however, that they are legally different: a proposal to trade one public act for another, a form of logrolling, is fundamentally unlike the swap of an official act for a private payment,” the ruling says.
Blago’s 14-year prison term was the longest sentence ever given to an Illinois governor convicted of crimes in the state. Four of the last seven governors in the state were arrested on various charges and sent to prison.
What do you think about the Rod Blagojevich convictions being overturned?
[Image via Twitter]