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Entries in Rod Blagojevich (4)

Thursday
Jul052012

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Hospitalized

US House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) -- Nearly two months after taking a leave of absence from Congress, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s congressional office Thursday said he is being treated at an "in-patient medical facility" for an unnamed ailment.

"Recently, we have been made aware that he has grappled with certain physical and emotional ailments privately for a long period of time," Jackson's spokesman Frank Watkins said in a statement. "At present, he is undergoing further evaluation and treatment at an in-patient medical facility."

Jackson took a leave of absence from his House duties in early June because of "exhaustion." His condition is now "more serious than we thought and initially believed," Watkins said.

"According to the preliminary diagnosis from his doctors, Congressman Jackson will need to receive extended in-patient treatment as well as continuing medical treatment thereafter," he said in the statement.

Jackson, who was first elected to Congress in 1995, is running for re-election this year. He is also being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for allegedly offering money to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's gubernatorial campaign in exchange for President Obama's vacated Senate seat.

Blagojevich is currently serving a 14-year prison term for 17 counts of corruption, which include trying to sell Obama's seat.

Jackson is also being investigated for allegedly directing his campaign donor and friend Raghuveer Naya to foot the bill for airfare and hotel rooms for a female "social acquaintance."

Jackson's statement did not say when, or if, he would be returning to Congress.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun272011

Rod Blagojevich Guilty of Trying to Sell Obama's Senate Seat

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The jury in the retrial of Rod Blagojevich found the former Illinois governor guilty on 17 corruption charges, including fraud, attempted extortion, and soliciting bribes.

Those verdicts include the charges of conspiring to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat.  The jury was deadlocked on two others.

U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel will set sentencing for a later date.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Blagojevich faces up to a decade in prison.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun272011

Blagojevich Trial: Jurors Reach Verdict, Announcement Coming Monday

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- A federal jury in Chicago has reached an undisclosed verdict in the corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, accused of corruption and trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated when President Obama was elected in 2008.

The jurors reportedly told the judge Monday morning they have agreed on 18 of 20 counts.

The verdict is expected to be announced Monday afternoon.

This is the second trial for the Democrat. A previous trial ended with a jury hung on all but one charge, although he has maintained his innocence. But federal prosecutors elected to bring the case again.

The jury in the new trial -- eleven women and one man -- reached its decision after nearly 10 days of deliberation. Federal prosecutors streamlined their presentation after the first jury complained of an overly complex case. Last year's result was a hung jury on 23 of the original 24 counts, convicting Blagojevich on a single charge of making a false statement to the FBI.

This time, the colorful ex-governor took a huge gamble by testifying in his own defense. Legal analysts called it "a hail Mary pass." Even the judge, James Zagel, told Blagojevich in court that it was probably his best chance to beat the rap.

For seven days, Blagojevich took the stand in an attempt to counter hundreds of FBI wiretaps that, prosecutors argued, demonstrated his maneuvering to peddle the vacated Senate seat of the newly elected Barack Obama. In perhaps the most infamous recording, the then governor is heard saying, "I've got this thing and it's f------ golden. And I, I'm just not giving it up for f------ nothing."

Jurors also heard recordings that, prosecutors said, showed Blagojevich scheming to sell the Senate seat to allies of U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. in exchange for more than $1 million in campaign contributions. Jackson has insisted he had no knowledge of any "unauthorized" efforts on his behalf.

On the stand, Blagojevich argued he was merely engaged in speculative political horse-trading. His lawyers contended the FBI tapes amounted to nothing but bluster. "He talked and talked and that's all he did," lead defense lawyer Sheldon Sorosky said.

But federal prosecutors compared Blagojevich to a cop asking a stopped motorist for a bribe. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Hamilton told the jury: "The law focuses on 'the ask,' not on whether there was a receipt. The harm is done when 'the ask' is made."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb242011

Judge Drops Three Charges Against Rod Blagojevich

Photo Courtesy - Tim Boyle/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- A judge granted a request from prosecutors to drop three of the 23 charges against Rod Blagojevich in the former governor's corruption retrial.

Blagojevich, 54, said he believes dropping those charges, which include racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud, is a step toward clearing his name. However, prosecutors said it will simplify the case against him in the April retrial.

The jurors in Blagojevich's first trial convicted Blagojevich of a single count -- lying to the FBI -- but were deadlocked on the 23 other charges. They told prosecutors many of those charges were hard to follow.

Blagojevich's retrial is scheduled for April.

He is accused of trying to trade or sell a Senate appointment. "The government dismissed some charges. Maybe the government thinks Blagojevich is innocent. I don't know," said Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky. Some legal experts say they don't believe the dropped charges signify a victory for the impeached former governor. They say all of the allegations cited under the racketeering count would be included somewhere in the remaining charges. 

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