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

Blagojevich prosecutors to drop racketeering counts, what does it mean?

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Prosecutors in the Rod Blagojevich corruption case said today they will move to throw out racketeering counts against the former governor because they're "duplicative," and to help streamline the case.

All the underlying conduct in those counts are charged in other counts, however.

Lawyers in the case say that dropping count one, racketeering, and count two, racketeering conspiracy, will help wipe out at least 30 pages of jury instructions -- something jurors had complained were burdensome and confusing.

Prosecutors also said they want to drop count four, a wire fraud count.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said in court that dropping the charges will help "streamline the length of the indictment," as well as jury instructions.

Former prosecutor Patrick Collins said the government is clearly responding to jurors.

"I see this as a clear signal," Collins said. "Their message from the last trial was that they needed to simplify their case. They're doing that by dismissing Robert (Blagojevich) and dismissing RICO. When a prosecutor charges RICO, there's certain benefits to it, but it complicates the case and jury instructions."
Prosecutors late last year dismissed charges against Blagojevich's brother, Robert, increasing the case's focus on Rod Blagojevich.

After Blagojevich's first trial, jurors came to an impasse on 23 of 24 counts, convicting him of just one count -- lying to the FBI.
There are now 20 counts remaining against Blagojevich, including that he allegedly tried to sell President Obama's former Senate seat.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on February 23, 2011 1:33 PM.

Blagojevich lawyers take new tactics into court today was the previous entry in this blog.

Axelrod: Rahm Emanuel's involvement in Blagojevich trial "won't amount to much." is the next entry in this blog.

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