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


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Rod Blagojevich wants to cancel his upcoming retrial, asking to be sentenced immediately, however, prosecutors and the judge would have to approve of the request.

That's a tall order, considering 20 counts remain pending against the former governor, including that he tried selling President Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat. Blagojevich narrowly missed conviction on those counts, some of the most significant in the case, in the first trial with jurors voting 11-1 on many of the charges.

Blagojevich's lawyers filed a five-page motion Wednesday morning asking to proceed to sentencing right away and avoid a retrial that's set to begin April 20.

"A second prosecution of this case is an irresponsible use of taxpayer funds in light of the current economic crisis and Blagojevich's imminent sentencing on the conviction from the first trial," lawyers wrote in the motion.

However, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald late last year said his office actually takes in far more money in fines, seizures and forfeitures than his office's annual budget.

Defense lawyers, who are being paid through taxpayer dollars, complained they haven't been paid. Because of the budget crisis in Washington D.C. public defenders have been told their payments could be suspended temporarily.

(Here's the filing: blagodismiss.pdf)

U.S. District Judge James Zagel and federal prosecutors would have to agree to dismiss the remaining counts against the former governor.

"There's charges pending, the only way they get out of those charges is if the government drops them," says Michael Ettinger, a federal defense lawyer who represented Blagojevich's brother, Robert. Charges against Rob Blagojevich were dropped after the last trial.

In the summer, Blagojevich was convicted of just one out of 24 counts against him. A jury was deadlocked on the remaining counts.

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So that's it? The terrorists won and freedom is dead?

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on March 9, 2011 7:21 AM.

England for Blagojevich? Maybe not. was the previous entry in this blog.

Lawyer: Blagojevich can cancel trial -- by pleading guilty is the next entry in this blog.

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