The verdict is in – and verdict is definitely singular in this case – former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is guilty.
As I predicted last weekend, the Blagojevich jury was ready to end deliberations soon, and on Tuesday we learned they could agree on only one charge, that Blagojevich made false statements to an FBI agent. Unanimous decisions couldn’t be reached regarding the other 23 charges against Blagojevich, although the jury was ready to convict him of trying to sell President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat until one juror had a change of heart Monday.
That’s not quite the acquittal Blagojevich wants us to believe it is. A hung jury means a mistrial on 23 of 24 counts, and there already is a hearing set for Thursday, Aug. 26, when a retrial will be set in motion. (Double jeopardy only applies if a verdict has been reached regarding a particular charge.) Eventually – and probably sooner than later – it will be Showtime at the Dirksen again.
Of course, we taxpayers will foot the bill for the retrial, which isn’t too appealing to our collective pocketbook. What is appealing, however, is justice being served. There should be resolution to whether Blagojevich is guilty of the major offenses he is accused of committing, particularly the attempted sale of a U.S. Senate seat. And if Blagojevich’s life is tied up for another year, I won’t feel too sorry for him, considering the deep fiscal hole he helped dig our state in during his five years as governor.
Hopefully the next jury will put some more time into deliberating. Not that the first jury didn’t do any hard work, but I got the impression that all the jurors’ hearts weren’t completely into it. Yes, they put in a lot of time, put their lives on hold during the workweek as the attorneys argued their cases, but when the time came to deliberate, they asked for Fridays off and seemed to throw in the towel relatively early, especially considering they told Judge Zagel they hadn’t even discussed the 11 counts of wire fraud as of last Thursday. They didn’t deliberate on Friday, so they considered the wire fraud charges only on Monday? If they were confused, they should have asked more questions for clarification’s sake.
Regardless, we’re in for a second round of Blagojevich in court beginning next week. And don’t forget, he plans to appeal his conviction, so he’ll also be making more court appearances regarding that matter.
It will be interesting to see how both sides adjust their approaches to the case during the retrial, and whether Blagojevich will even have the same defense attorneys. Until then, those of us who enjoy following political pageantry and its fallout still have the analysis of the first trial to get us through the night.