Prosecutors responded to an appeal by former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday, urging the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reject his bid for a new trial.
Lawyers for Blagojevich filed on his behalf for an appeal of his conviction earlier this year in July, with hopes to overturn or reduce his 14-year prison sentence for 17 counts of wire fraud, attempted extortion, bribery, the conspiracy to commit extortion, and the conspiracy to commit bribery – which included when he attempted to benefit from his power to fill the Senate seat that Barack Obama left when he became president.
The Illinois democrat is currently in federal prison in Littleton, Colorado after jurors convicted him during the second federal trial against him for all of the above counts in June 2011. The first trial resulted in a hung jury.
In the defendants appeal, Blagojevich attorneys disputed that his “proposed exchange [for Obama’s Senate seat] was an arm’s length political deal ... between himself and Barack Obama which Blagojevich believed was not only lawful, but also in the public interest.”
Secret wiretaps of Blagojevich were used as evidence in the prosecutors’ case. “I’ve got this thing and it’s f------ golden,” jurors heard Blagojevich saying in one conversation about Obama’s seat. “And I’m just not giving it up for f------ nothing.”
Assistant US Attorney Debra Riggs Bonamici wrote that the Blagojevich verdict was “supported by abundant evidence, and the defendant received a fair trial.”
“No matter the price he charges, a public official who sells his office engages in crime, not politics,” the recent government filing says.
Tuesday’s filing by prosecutors attempted to undermine the defendant's argument, calling it “an extraordinary claim.” It could take a few months, but now that the prosecutors have issued their response, a ruling on the appeal could come soon.