Rod Blagojevich may be facing retrial in April for criminal charges but he's still entitled to court immunity in another case, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today.
The appeals court ruled that Blagojevich can have immunity from a civil lawsuit filed by the casinos challenging a horseracing bill that Blagojevich signed into law before his 2009 impeachment. The legislation would siphon off casino money and kick it into horseracing. There's some $100 million in a fund now as litigation continues.
Blagojevich was charged criminally with plotting to shake down a horseracing executive for a campaign contribution.
He later signed the bill into law. He didn't get the contribution.
"You're not allowed to just bring governors into court because you make allegations into wrongdoing," said Blagojevich civil lawyer, Jay Edelson. "I think the decision really has wide-ranging implications."
"These huge casinos are saying that Rod ought to pay them money, under a theory that we thought was frivolous. The former governor individually is out of this lawsuit."
A lawyer representing the casinos could not be immediately reached.
Blagojevich gets immunity -- but not in criminal case
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