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."