Blagojevich was convicted of only one count against him in his trial that ended last year. He had 24 counts against him, but the jury acquitted him of everything but lying to the FBI. The government vowed to retry Blagojevich and try to get him convicted of more charges. Now, the former governor is asking the judge of that retrial to stop the proceedings and sentence him for the one count he was found guilty of.
According to local Chicago media reports, however, the decision is not up to Blagojevich. The retrial was set to start April 20. However, there are many in the state who do not want to move forward with the retrial, saying it is a waste of tax payer dollars. Blagojevich filed the motion to stop the trial and convict him in U.S. District Court yesterday.
Part of the problem is that it has been reported that the former governor is all out of money to pay his lawyers. Some reports say that his legal team has not been paid since February when the last of his legal defense fund was exhausted.
Blagojevich was impeached, removed from office, and then tried on a number of counts last year. The state’s attorneys wanted him convicted on 24 counts from racketeering to lying to the FBI. Many feel that the sheer number of counts confused the jury in the original trial and that, as a result, they threw out most of the charges against him. The prosecutors vowed to retry Blagojevich and get him convicted of trying to sell the former senate seat held by Barack Obama.
The conviction of lying to the FBI carries a maximum sentence of about 5 years. If Blagojevich had been convicted of more of the charges against him he would have faced a sentence of up to 20 years. Blagojevich released a statement maintaining that he is still innocent of all charges against him, including the lying, but acknowledged that he had been convicted of that particular crime.
The motion will be decided upon by a judge, but exactly when has yet to be determined.