In the Blagojevich federal corruption trial, the jury rendered a
guilty verdict on one count on Tuesday afternoon -- lying to federal
But the jury could not come to a unanimous agreement on 23 other
corruption charges, leaving the door open for federal prosecutors to
Federal prosecutors have already indicated that they want to retry
Rodger Heaton, a former federal prosecutor, said U.S. attorneys will
re-evaluate their case, perhaps to make it more accessible.
"There will certainly be some discussion within the U.S. Attorney's
Office about whether part of the problem with getting a verdict was
that the case was too complicated, that there was too much in it and
it needs to be simplified," he said.
Prosecutors could decide to decrease the number of counts or
witnesses to streamline their case against Blagojevich.
Prosecutors had key witnesses, such as convicted Blagojevich
fundraisers Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine, that they did not call to
A retrial would require federal District Judge James Zagel and both
legal teams to start over again, beginning with the selection of a
completely new jury.
Robert Hirschhorn, a jury selection expert, said this jury's
inability to decide on most counts would affect the jury selection
for a retrial.
"What that's going to do is make it even more difficult to find yet
another jury in this case because the publicity has been massive and
persuasive," he said.
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Heaton said both legal teams will be analyzing what this trial's
jurors say about their decision and deliberations.
"I think that's going to be the most interesting new information
that anybody could get ... what did the specific jurors think was
hard to understand or was confusing or not persuasive or, vice
versa, persuasive," he said.
The verdict comes just a day before top state Democrats are set to
address supporters at the Illinois State Fair for "Governor's Day."
Jim Nowlan, a political science professor at Knox College in
Galesburg, said the timing of the verdict would hurt Democrats
statewide going forward.
"You just hate to be affiliated with Blagojevich and ... that's what
the Democratic candidates will have to be throughout the coming
campaign and into the election," he said.
Illinoisans will head to the polls for the state's general election
on Nov. 2.
Statehouse News; By KEVIN LEE]