Federal Prosecutors Blow It, Vows Re-Trial
By now you’ve likely heard that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D.) was convicted on the lesser of 24 counts against him by an Illinois Jury.
That count, “lying to the Federal Prosecutor” carries a maximum sentence of 5 years.
On the remaining 23 counts, the jury hung. Not surprising to me, after all this is Illinois and as you, the rest of the country are figuring out we invented political corruption here.
So why did the jury hang on 23 of 24 counts? Simple. Let’s start with 24 counts. Patrick Fitzgerald threw 24 charges at Blagojevich, many of which had one to six counts against them. For each charge, the jury needed to consider each individual count in order to convict Blagojevich.
Then there were the more than 150 rules that governed how the jury would debate and convict or absolve Blagojevich.
24 charges, and more than 100 individual counts, and 150 rules for an Illinois Jury to consider and convict or absolve what is unarguably the most corrupt Governor in Illinois history.
So what are we to make of the results of this trial?
First, as I said in the beginning Fitzgerald made this case way too complex. Throwing 24 charges and more than 100 individual counts against the wall thinking something would ultimately stick was a losing strategy.
Second, 150 rules governing debate and conviction in the jury room was just too over the top.
What jury in the world would stand for such nonsense?
Patrick Fitzgerald didn’t make his case. After 6 weeks of playing tapes, the Federal Prosecutor’s office was banking on Blagojevich taking the stand and “tripping him up” to drive home a guilty verdict.
Blago’s attorney’s knowing Patrick Fitzgerald the Federal Prosecutor didn’t make his case, kept Blago off the stand.
The jury obviously knows Blago is guilty of corruption. They also understand that Fitzgerald is an out of control Federal Prosecutor who should’ve kept the case simple, charging Blago with the most aggregious crimes such as Racketeering and gone for that conviction.
Therefore, the jury’s guilty verdict on the lesser of all the charges and hanging on the remaining 23 sends a clear message to those who would prosecute the rampant corruption here in Illinois in the future: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Fitzgerald announced minutes after the Judge declared a mistrial on 23 counts that they would be re-trying the case here in Illinois in Federal Court.
Please Mr. Fitzgerald – spare us poor taxpayers. You took your best shot and you failed. The $25 - $50 million it’ll cost for a retrial is desperately needed elsewhere. Our schools, more police, and fixing our roads comes to mind.
You lost Mr. Fitzgerald, take the 5 year conviction for lying to the Federal Prosecutor and walk away. You’d be doing us taxpayers in Illinois a huge favor.