More Papers Filed In Voluminous Blagojevich Appeal
From AP - News Local/State - December 03, 2013
More Papers Filed In Voluminous Blagojevich Appeal
By The Associated Press
Rod Blagojevich's lawyers laid out a final set of arguments in writing before they step before appellate judges next week to argue that the imprisoned ex-governor deserves a new trial.
The 33-page filing with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals repeats arguments made before, including that trial Judge James Zagel displayed bias againstBlagojevich. The brief was posted late Monday.
The defense and prosecution will get 30 minutes each to deliver oral arguments before a three-judge panel Dec. 13.
Underpinning those arguments will be voluminous written arguments. Lawyers for the 56-year-old Democrat filed a 100-page appeal in July. Last month, prosecutors offered a 169-page response. Monday filing's was a defense reply to that government response.
Jurors convicted Blagojevich of wide-ranging corruption in 2011. He's serving his 14-year prison term.
A judge in a long-running civil case has ruled against casinos that claimed Illinois legislators passed laws helping competitors in the racetrack industry under pressure from then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Rod Blagojevich's lawyers are working to meet a deadline to file what could be a 100-page appeal calling for the ex-governor's corruption convictions to be tossed or for his 14-year sentence to be reduced.
Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich walked into a Colorado prison a year ago Friday to start his 14-year sentence for corruption charges. State legislators say they hope the governor is reflecting on his mistakes.
Convicted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich never allowed himself to even think about spending the next decade of his life behind bars. Less than an hour before he began serving his 14-year sentence on corruption charges, he could hardly say that word: "prison."
(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)
On his last full day of freedom, Rod Blagojevich gave a statement to reporters in front of his home on Chicago's North side.
Blagojevich first thanked people for their support over the last three years. He said the citizens of Illinois elected him twice to be governor of the state. He called that a privilege and an honor.
Blagojevich said he fought hard for the people during his time as governor and listed some key legislation that passed during his term. He faulted himself for possibly fighting too hard and not "having more humility."
The ex-governor paused as supporters chanted, "Free our governor," before turning his statement to address his wife Patti and his two daughters. He called going to prison the hardest thing he'd ever have to do.
"How do you make sense of all of this? What do you tell your children?" he asked.
Blagojevich regretted that he would be away from his daughters for more than a decade.
"It's hard for me to say that I have to go to prison. That's a hard word for me to say," he said.
His wife Patti stood by his side during the entire statement, trying to hold back tears. The ex-governor praised her for standing by his side and being a "great mom."
After his statement, Blagojevich didn't take any questions and the family returned to their home.
The 55-year-old Democrat is due to report to a prison in Colorado on Thursday to begin serving a 14-year sentence. He was convicted of 18 criminal counts during two trials, including charges that he tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.
More than 50 reporters crowded onto the street near the former Illinois governor's home as television helicopters hovered overhead.
Neighbors and supporters hung a banner over the railing of Blagojevich's home that read, "Thanks Mr. Governor. We will pray."
Current Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn told reporters Wednesday the state is a much better place than it was on January 29th, 2009, the day Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office.
"We're going to have two governors, two former governors, in jail at the same time. That's something that we never, ever want to have happen," Quinn said. "And I think that it's important that the people of Illinois, who are good and true, always come out first."
Quinn said he wishes Blagojevich's family well.
Blagojevich had announced he'd make the statement starting precisely at 5:02 p.m., which enabled prime time news to lead with his remarks. Attorneys for the ousted Illinois governor say he wants to depart in a dignified way, without a media frenzy. That fueled speculation he'd try to slip out of Chicago undetected, but his spokesman says Blagojevich never entertained that idea.
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
From AP - News Headlines - December 22, 2011 7:55 PM
For the second time in two months, Tony Rezko was back in front of a judge Thursday to be sentenced to federal prison. Rezko was a fundraiser for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Rezko was recently sentenced to 10-and-a-half years behind bars for his role in corruption in the Blagojevich administration. On Thursday, he was back in front of a judge to be sentenced in a different case. This time for lying to get some loans to keep his failing businesses afloat. The case was brought as prosecutors were applying pressure to individuals involved in illegal fundraising for Blagojevich.
Judge James Zagel handed Rezko a seven and a half year sentence, which he can serve at the same time as his other sentence. Zagel also admonished Rezko for entangling, "an honorable man" into his criminal acts. By that he meant one of Rezko's co-defendants who pleaded guilty, but the judge didn't say to whom he was referring.
Rezko will also have to pay more than $4 million in restitution, something his attorney said Rezko cannot afford to do.
As the frail-looking 56-year-old left the courtroom, he smiled at his family, who waved to him and yelled, "Merry Christmas.
From AP - News Headlines - December 15, 2011 12:34 PM
A federal judge has agreed to delay the start of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's prison term.
U.S. District Judge James Zagel agreed Tuesday to allow Blagojevich to report to prison March 15. Blagojevich previously was ordered to begin serving his 14-year term on Feb. 16. He was convicted of corruption charges including allegations that he tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.
Blagojevich's attorneys asked for more time so he could help his family move into a new home. Zagel also agreed to recommend that Blagojevich be sent to the Englewood prison in Colorado. Federal prison officials have the final say.
Attorney Sheldon Sorosky says he isn't sure why Blagojevich wants that prison; he says the Blagojevich family isn't moving to Colorado.