Monday, June 27, 2011

Blago Goes Down

Former Illinois Rod Blagojevich was found guilty today in 17 out of 20 charges in his corruption retrial.

The primary charges he was found guilty on all relate to his attempt to sell President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat, to an attempted $50,000 shakedown of Children's Memorial Hospital in exchange for $8 million in state funding. and to bribery and extortion connected to a racing bill.

Sentencing is scheduled for August 1, and Blagojevich could end up with 20 years. He's the third Illinois governor to be jailed in the last thirty odd years, the second within the last decade.

During this second trial, I was struck by the judge's restrictions on whom Blagojevich's attorneys could subpoena, what evidence they were allowed to access and share with the jury on certain matters and the number of overruled objections and side bar rulings that went in favor of the prosecution. Specifically, it was obvious to me that there was a definite agenda to keep the focus of this trial as narrow as possible...probably so as not to embarrass certain very prominent people.

Blagojevich was obviously guilty of gross corruption, but he certainly wasn't the only player in Chicagoland. The first trial, which ended in a hung jury because of one juror who happened to be a well connected Democrat activist might very well have been a warning to Blago not to try and involve people in his personal legal drama.

The key thing to watch is (a) what sort of sentence Blagojevich gets and (b) where he's serving time.

If a deal was made between Blago and certain powers that be and he keeps his mouth shut, it'll be something like ten to twelve years, served in some white collar country club prison like the minimum security camps at Marion or Pekin, and we might see a presidential pardon at an appropriate time, similar to how Bill Clinton treated his old Whitewater business partners Susan MacDougal and Webb Hubbell.

If it wasn't, or if there was a deal and there's a feeling it wasn't adhered to, look for a maximum sentence in some place like Greenwood or Terre Haute.

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