Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was found guilty late Monday afternoon on 17 out of 20 counts which includes an attempt to sell or trade President Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat.
The jury which is composed of 11 women and one man said Blagojevich was not guilty on one bribery count and they could not come to a decision on 2 others.
The verdict was reached during the tenth day of deliberation in the impeached governor’s second corruption trial.
The retrial jurors include a librarian, a school teacher, a longtime church choir director and a recently laid-off marketing director.
The conclusive verdict came less than a year after the jury in the first corruption trial found Blagojevich guilty of one criminal charge but deadlocked on the rest, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
Jurors at Blagojevich’s first trial deliberated for 14 days before coming back deadlocked on 23 of 24 charges.
In addition to the guilty count from last summer’s trial, the former governor has been convicted of 17 counts of wire fraud, bribery, attempted extortion, conspiracy and lying to the FBI.
According to the Associated Press, Blagojevich took the stand for seven days at the retrial and denied all 20 counts against him.
In a statement to the Citizen, Randall Samborn, Assistant US Attorney, Public Information Officer said, “We are pleased with the verdict. The jury sent the message that corruption will not be tolerated. The second time around we presented what we thought was a more streamline case.”
After the verdict was read, Blagojevich made a brief comment to the news media.
“Patti and I obviously are very disappointed in the outcome. I, frankly, am stunned. There’s not much left to say,” Blagojevich told the news media. “Gotta sort things out.”
NBC 5 News reports that the 17 guilty counts carry a maximum sentence of 350 years in prison; however legal experts believe Blagojevich ensuing sentence will be closer to a decade than three centuries.
The former governor’s legal downfall spurred the creation of some legislation during the Illinois General Assembly’s spring session.
In response to Blagojevich’s prolific fundraising, captured on FBI wiretaps played in court, Illinois imposed its first-ever caps on political donations. The new donation limits went into effect this year and cap how much money individuals, political action committees and interest groups can give to candidates.
Individuals are barred from donating more than $5,000 to a candidate in both the primary and general elections. Businesses, unions and other associations can give candidates twice that much, while political action committees can give $50,000 to a candidate in each election.
In addition, the state established its first-ever fines for Freedom of Information Act violations as part of a new law to prevent abuses by state offices that sought to deny or delay responding to requests, something the Blagojevich administration routinely did.
The law included training public employees so they would understand how to comply with public records laws, and it gave the Illinois attorney general’s office enforcement authority.
Blagojevich’s legal trouble began when he was arrested at his North side home in December 2008. His arrest consisted of federal corruption charges including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery.
The prosecution had been seeking a guilty verdict for the past two-and-a-half years.
According to an ABC 7 news report, Blagojevich is expected to be sentenced in the fall.
Thelma Sardin, AP, news reports