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Prosecutors: Blagojevich convictions should stand

•  National News     updated  2011/08/23 10:20


Rod Blagojevich received a fair retrial and his convictions for corruption including trying to sell President Barack Obama's Senate seat should stand, prosecutors said Tuesday in their retort to the ousted Illinois governor's request for another new trial.

The government's 133-page filing in U.S. District Court in Chicago nearly matched a 158-page defense motion last month that alleged a litany of errors at Blagojevich's retrial earlier this year.

"In reality, there was no bias, manipulation, or unfairness on the part of the prosecution, judge or jury," prosecutors said in their response. "The defendant was fairly convicted by a jury of his peers based on overwhelming evidence."

The filing comes just weeks before Blagojevich's sentencing hearing, scheduled to begin Oct. 6. Many legal experts say U.S. District Judge James Zagel is likely to give the 54-year-old Democrat around ten years in prison.

Blagojevich's retrial ended in June with jurors convicting him on 17 of 20 corruption counts, including that he tried to sell or trade the appointment to Obama's vacated Senate seat for a top job or campaign cash.

At the former governor's first trial last year, jurors were deadlocked on all but one count, convicting the twice-elected Blagojevich of making a false statement to the FBI about the extent of his participation in political fundraising.

Among other alleged judicial errors, defense attorneys pointed in their motion to one of the most memorable moments at the retrial — when lead prosecutor Reid Schar opened a blistering cross-examination of Blagojevich.




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