The jury in former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s federal corruption trial reached a verdict. Federal prosecutors charged him with a laundry list of allegations, including trying to sell the senate seat vacated by Obama’s presidency and a variety of business shakedowns. After 14 days of deliberation, the jurors found him guilty on just one of the 24 counts against him.
“I think he’s nuts and he’s making people in Illinois look foolish,” said Naperville resident Christine Michaels.
“I’m rather pleased,” said Wheaton resident Angela Zajac. “I think he’s no more guilty than any of the other crooks in Cook County.”
While local residents have mixed reactions, DuPage County attorneys agree that the case was extremely complex.
“Sometimes the business of government looks very messy,” said Defense Attorney Chris Hage. “People have questions on it, cast dispersions on elected officials and they’re innocent until proven guilty.”
On August 26, federal prosecutors will discuss a possible retrial, which could cost taxpayers an estimated 20 to 30 million dollars. Blagojevich was convicted on just one charge, lying to the FBI, which is a felony. He could face up to five years in prison.
“This case should be retried. This is not a waste of Taxpayers money,” said DuPage County State’s Attorney, Joe Birkett. “This governor, according to the indictment, warrants a retrial. And it’s the responsibility of the government to bring him to trial.”
This isn’t the first time an Illinois Governor has been charged with corruption. Local Democrat Diane McGuire believes these incidents wear away the public’s trust.
“We trust that each time we make our mark on the ballot box that this one will be the best one,” said McGuire. “And most of the time, we’re rewarded. Occasionally the process fails and we have to correct it and move forward.”
Exactly how government prosecutors and the former governor move forward will make up the next chapter in the Blagojevich story.
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