Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is pushing for a judge to cancel his retrial and skip right over to sentencing, “in the interests of justice and saving the taxpayers funds.”
In August, Blagojevich was found guilty of one count of making false statements to the FBI, just one of the 24 charges that had been brought against him. The jury was deadlocked on the rest of the charges, so prosecutors sought a retrial, now scheduled for April 20. Sentencing for the sole conviction was not expected until after the retrial.
In a motion filed Wednesday, Blago asks District Judge James B. Zagel to “dismiss this cause and proceed to sentencing on the conviction from the first trial, in the interests of justice and saving taxpayer funds.” In other words, he wants to be sentenced for the one conviction, and avoid whatever potential convictions and sentences he might risk in a retrial.
“A second prosecution of this case is an irresponsible use of taxpayer funds in light of current economic crisis and Blagojevich’s imminent sentencing on the conviction from the first trial,” the motion continues.
The filing also says that though his legal fees are supposed to be paid by the state, none of his lawyers have been pad in almost nine months.
Michael Dobbins, a clerk for the District Court in the Northern District of Illinois, told the Associated Press that coincidentally the checks for Blago’s legal team “were cut today and going out in the mail.”
The charges against Blago were related to allegations that he had attempted to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat, vacated in 2008 after Obama was elected President, and that he had attempted various other schemes to profit from his own position. He pleaded not guilty to all 24 counts of wire fraud, racketeering, bribery, and attempted extortion.