Former Ill. Gov. Blagojevich Appeals Corruption Conviction, Sentence

By Ward Room Staff/Associated Press
|  Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013  |  Updated 6:33 AM EDT
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Blagojevich Leaves for Prison

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Rod Blagojevich doesn't have the same choices available to him as you do.

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Lawyers for Rod Blagojevich filed an appeal Monday challenging the imprisoned former Illinois governor's corruption conviction and stiff, 14-year prison term.

The lengthy filing with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago comes more than two years after the Chicago Democrat's retrial and 16 months after he entered a federal prison in Colorado.

The appeal cites a juror who allegedly expressed a bias against Blagojevich who was seated despite the objections of defense attorneys. It also raises longstanding claims that Judge James Zagel barred FBI wiretap evidence that might have aided the defense and argues the judge miscalculated the appropriate prison term.

The appeal was filed about 30 minutes before a midnight deadline to do so.
The deadline to appeal Blagojevich's corruption conviction already has been pushed back several times. Attorney Lauren Kaeseberg told the Associated Press the appeal will be filed in Chicago's 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but declined to comment on its contents.

Appeals can take years to play out, and defendants rarely prevail.

The deadline to appeal Blagojevich's corruption conviction already has been pushed back several times. Attorney Lauren Kaeseberg told the Associated Press the appeal will be filed in Chicago's 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals but declined to comment on its contents.

Jurors convicted Blagojevich on 18 counts in 2011, including charges that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat. He reported to a Colorado federal prison on March 15, 2012.

Kaeseberg said in March the former governor has found a variety of ways to occupy his free time, including teaching Civil War history, learning to play the guitar and keeping a journal.

"He's been doing a lot of reading. He's actually, you know, been sort of tinkering with different musical instruments with other inmates," she said.

Blagojevich's scheduled release date is May 23, 2024. If he stays in prison until then, he'd be 67 years old upon release.
 

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