‘No Smoking Gun’ Says Blagojevich Jury – ‘We Were Largely Divided’

Blagojevich jurors say the case lacked a smoking gun — were largely divided


Natasha Korecki

on August 17, 2010 10:05 PM

Reporting with Sarah Ostman

Rod Blagojevich’s jury says the case lacked a smoking gun: Read story, click here.

BLAGOJEVICH JUROR: There was one hold out. We were 11-1 for conviction


Natasha Korecki

on August 17, 2010 7:39 PM

The Associated Press is reporting that juror Erik Sarnello says there was one female hold out juror.

CHICAGO (AP) ‹ A juror in the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich says the
panel was deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting the former Illinois
governor of trying to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s former Senate
Juror Erik Sarnello of Itasca, Ill said a female holdout “just didn’t see
what we all saw.” The 21-year-old Sarnello said the counts around the Senate
seat were “the most obvious.”
The jury convicted Blagojevich Tuesday of a lesser charge, lying to federal
agents, but could not reach an agreement on the remaining 23 charges.
Prosecutors have pledged to retry the case as soon as possible.

Rod Blagojevich: “Patti and I are going to continue the fight”


Sarah Ostman

on August 17, 2010 6:50 PM

Reporting with Natasha Korecki, Dave McKinney, Chris Fusco and Abdon Pallasch

Speaking to reporters after the verdict, Rod Blagojevich blasted U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his team of prosecutors and vowed to carry on the fight to prove his innocence. His wife, Patti, wore a somber look as the two held hands:

“The federal government — and this particular prosecutor — did everything he could to target me and prosecute me, persecute me, put pressure on my family, try to take our home, take me away me from our kids, arrest me,” Blagojevich said. “That very prosecutor said that he was stopping a ‘crime spree’ before it happened. Well, this jury just showed you . . . notwithstanding the fact that the government through everything but the kitchen sink at me, that, on every count except for one – on every charge except for one — they could not prove that I did anything wrong.”

The lone exception, Blagojevich said, was a “nebulous charge from five years ago” — lying to the FBI.

“The FBI, and I agreed to that interview, refused to allow me to have a court reporter in the room. I want the people of Illinois to know I did not lie to the FBI. I’ve told the truth from the very beginning.

“This is a persecution. We have police officers who are being gunned down on the street. We have children who can’t play in front of their homes in the summertime because they might get gunned down. And we have a prosecutor who has wasted . . . tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to keep persecuting me, persecuting my family, take me away from my little girls, as well as take my home away from us.”

“They threw everything they could at me — 24 charges that I’ve said from the beginning are false, and the jury agreed that the government did not prove its case.

“And let me also point out that we didn’t even put a defense on, and the government didn’t prove its case. Patti and I are going to continue the fight, because this fight is a lot bigger than just me and my family.”

Blagojevich leaves the courthouse to boos and cheers


Natasha Korecki

on August 17, 2010 5:58 PM

A huge mob scene formed downstairs. Dozens and dozens of people stood watch outside the courthouse and inside — waiting to hear news of the verdict and to catch a glimpse of Rod Blagojevich.

The former governor left the courthouse minutes ago after proclaiming the prosecution’s case — which he estimated to cost millions of dollars — a waste of taxpayer money.

Blagojevich worked the crowd, shaking hands, doing high-fives with the crowd and waving outside to the dismay of his wife, Patti, who yanked him by the arm and told him to move it along.

The prosecution is now addressing the media.

Blagojevich jurors tired, not speaking to the media


Sarah Ostman

on August 17, 2010 5:18 PM

Reporting with Natasha Korecki, Dave McKinney, Chris Fusco and Abdon Pallasch

The Blagojevich jurors are leaving the courthouse without addressing the media, saying they are tired after a long day of deliberating.

It was thought that they might hold a press conference in one of the courtrooms here, but that doesn’t appear to be happening now.

Robert Blagojevich: “I feel bad for my brother.”


Sarah Ostman

on August 17, 2010 5:04 PM

Reporting with Natasha Korecki, Dave McKinney, Chris Fusco and Abdon Pallasch

Shortly after learning that he would have to withstand a re-trial, Robert Blagojevich told the media that he would once again proclaim his innocence in what he called a “surreal” experience.

“I have lived through the most surreal experience anyone could live through,” Robert Blagojevich told a crowd of reporters minutes ago in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Building.

Robert again described his prosecution as a “slow bleed,” both emotionally and financially.

But despite it all, he said, “I don’t feel in any way deterred in my ability to articulate my innocence,” adding that he would not cut a plea deal.

Robert also expressed sympathy for his ex-governor brother, who was just convicted of making false statements to the FBI.

“I feel bad for my brother,” Robert said. “I feel bad for him.”

Asked about his relationship with Rod, Robert responded, “I don’t comment on my relationship with my brother.” In the past, he’s been pretty open about it, saying their relationship is “strained.”

Robert’s attorney, Michael Ettinger, said he would again explore the possibility of getting Robert his own trial when he is tried again — separate from his brother’s.

Ettinger said Judge Zagel has already shot down that request once. The attorney also said he might change up the case for a retrial by calling additional witnesses.

Robert said he “absolutely” felt he made the right decision in testifying, and sees no reason why he wouldn’t testify again in the retrial.

“I’ve got a little practice under my belt now,” he said.

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