Court Throws Out Some Convictions Of Former Ill. Gov. Blagojevich

July 21, 2015

Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court in Chicago has thrown out five of 18 counts against disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year sentence for abusing the authority of his office for personal financial gain.

NPR’s David Schaper tells our Newscast unit the ruling allows the Chicago Democrat to be resentenced and may shorten the length of time he remains in prison.

The five counts were found invalid on technical grounds.

David says those counts include the allegation that Blagojevich offered to appoint President Obama’s top aide Valerie Jarrett to Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat in exchange for Blagojevich getting a Cabinet post.

“That, the appeals court ruled, amounts to the common exercise of logrolling — the swap of one official act for another — which the court ruled is not illegal.” David said.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said the Democrat is “not entitled to be released” pending further court proceedings. The court called the evidence against Blagojevich “overwhelming.”

“It is not possible to call the 168 months unlawfully high for Blagojevich’s crimes, but the district judge should consider on remand whether it is the most appropriate sentence,” Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote in Tuesday’s opinion.

Blagojevich, who was sentenced in June 2011, had maintained that while he was a flawed man, he wasn’t a criminal. His appeal, following his conviction, centered on the assertion he had merely engaged in politics as usual.

The Chicago Tribune has curated the documents — and audio — used in the original trial, and you can find those here.

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