Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Blagojevich's honest services charges could get tossed -- but trial will go on

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By Natasha Korecki
and Sarah Ostman
Sun-Times Reporters

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on honest services this morning could void out similar charges against Rod Blagojevich, but ultimately will change little in the trial he faces, one expert has said.
That's because prosecutors anticipated the move and in February, returning a new indictment that charged the same underlying conduct under different legal theory.
The legal maneuver helped keep the case on track for a June trial even if the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law.
"It's much ado about nothing," said defense lawyer Richard Kling. "I don't think it'll have any impact on what the jury is asked to deliberate."
This morning, Blagojevich's attorey asked U.S. District Judge James Zagel to continue the trial until Monday or Tuesday to digest the ruling.
They argued that witness John Harris' testimony pertains to the honest services charges and they needed to mull over the decision before continuing. Harris is Blagojevich's former chief of staff.
Zagel denied their request, saying that Harris is testifying on facts and his testimony will not be affected one way or another.
"The evidence is going to come in anyway," Zagel said.
This spring, Blagojevich's defense lawyers tried postponing the trial until the high court ruled, but Zagel -- as well as an appeals court --rejected the request.
In its February filing, prosecutors said the new indictment would address any strike down of the law.
"Such dismissal would do little to effect the trial in the instant case as the underlying illegal conduct charged in the Section 1346 counts is alleged in other counts of the Second Superseding Indictment," they wrote.
Blagojevich lawyers did not have immediate comment on the ruling this morning.
The former governor also did not comment.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on June 24, 2010 9:56 AM.

Blagojevich trial: U.S. Supreme Court limits "honest services" law was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich on Jesse Jackson Jr.: "He's a bad guy." is the next entry in this blog.

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