Blagojevich asks for nullification
CHICAGO | Former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has asked a judge to nullify the lone conviction in his mostly deadlocked corruption trial, saying the jury’s decision was underpinned by errors at trial and misconduct by prosecutors.
Trial Judge James Zagel should override jurors’ verdict and acquit Blagojevich of lying to the FBI or set it aside and try him again on that charge, defense attorneys said in a motion filed at the U.S. District Court in Chicago.
“The fact is that the government knew - and knows - that Blagojevich was not lying to the FBI,” says the motion, filed late Monday. “The conviction in this case is not legally sound.”
At the end of a 2 1/2-month trial, jurors convicted the impeached governor on just one of 24 counts against him. Prosecutors told the judge they will try Blagojevich again on the deadlocked charges, a retrial that is expected to start in January.
Among the charges jurors couldn’t agree on was that Blagojevich attempted to sell or trade an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat President Obama was vacating in exchange for a lucrative job or campaign donation.
The charge of lying to the FBI was considered the least serious, carrying a prison sentence of up to five years. Other charges, including racketeering, could lead to a 20-year prison term. Blagojevich, 53, has denied any wrongdoing.
Senator to mull a write-in bid
JUNEAU | Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who conceded the GOP primary to “tea-party”-backed Joe Miller last month, said she will decide by Friday whether to mount a write-in candidacy.
It’s the only option remaining for Mrs. Murkowski if she wants to hold onto her seat. On Monday, Libertarian candidate David Haase said he wouldn’t step aside to clear a spot on that party’s ticket. And Mrs. Murkowski, in a statement released Tuesday, said she couldn’t have sought the Libertarian nomination in good conscience, anyway.
“As disappointed as I am in the outcome of the primary and my belief that the Alaska Republican Party was hijacked by the Tea Party Express, an outside extremist group, I am not going to quit my party,” Mrs. Murkowski said.
She met with Mr. Haase, she said, as a courtesy to friends who approached the Libertarians, without her direction, about the potential of her appearing on their ballot.
“I will not wrap myself in the flag of another political party for the sake of election at any cost,” she said.