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Maybe not

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* WGN TV

Today’s Supreme Court ruling could greatly benefit former Governor Rod Blagojevich. The High Court made it harder for prosecutors to use federal fraud statues.

Today’s case involved former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell who was convicted on federal corruption charges in 2014. He was found to have received gifts, money and loans in exchange for official acts.

The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision vacated McDonnell’s conviction. The justices were concerned that federal laws allow prosecutors to mistake common favors with criminal acts.

So the justices defined what an official act is. How does this connect to former Governor Blagojevich? He was convicted of bribery, attempted extortion, and wire fraud — some of that related to the trade of President Obama’s old Senate seat.

Under this ruling, perhaps Mr. Blagojevich’s actions could be seen as business as usual not a felony. In the Blagojevich case, no money exchanged hands. In the case of Governor McDonnell, there was money involved: $175,000 in gifts. All legal.

* Not so, according to the Tribune

“It really doesn’t change anything,” said Blagojevich’s lawyer, Leonard Goodman. “I don’t think this will be a primary focus.” […]

The Supreme Court vacated the 2014 conviction on fraud and extortion charges against McDonnell, who accepted more than $165,000 in loans and gifts from a wealthy businessman. The high court’s opinion hinged on the definition of what should be considered an “official act” of a public official. The Supreme Court ruled that while McDonnell’s actions were “distasteful” and “tawdry,” the government overreached in its “boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.”

But the “official act” element does not apply in the Blagojevich case, Goodman said.

“Those legal issues are not really front and center at the resentencing,” Goodman said. “That’s really our main focus right now: trying to bring him home to his family.”

* More from CNN

“I think that some of the language in it and the concerns about government over-reaching are helpful,” Goodman said. “(But) I think that the narrow issue they looked at about the meaning of an official act is not directly on point with our case.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments
  1. - @MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:03 pm:

    Rod ain’t goin’ nowhere.

    – MrJM


  2. - Juice - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:04 pm:

    So the fine people at the World’s Greatest Content Curation and Monetization Company and tronc are not on the same page?


  3. - Johnny Pyle Driver - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:15 pm:

    It’ll never cease to amaze me the lengths these justices will go to carry forward the naivete that money given to politicians doesn’t influence them.


  4. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:25 pm:

    Typical of Blago the chump doesn’t even get a dime and he gets 14 years while another public servant takes $165,000 and walks


  5. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:27 pm:

    Well said, @Johnny Pyle Driver.


  6. - Blue dog dem - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    I never liked Blagojevich, but let him out. Can anyone out there tell me with a straight face that MJM never doled out favors. How about Cheney? Think the Clinton foundation is clean?


  7. - JoanP - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 1:04 pm:

    and Goodman should know.


  8. - JoanP - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 1:04 pm:

    meant to add . . .

    I’ll take his view of the case over WGN’s any time.


  9. - Quiet Sage - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 2:34 pm:

    I don’t understand how a lawyer wouldn’t try every reasonable avenue to help his client.


  10. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 3:41 pm:

    absurd that the former VA gov gets off after he actually pockets things. Rod is a goof, but he should be out.


  11. - anon - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 4:19 pm:

    While this decision won’t help Rod, it may help another former Democratic governor, Don Siegelman of Alabama. The governor had favored a state
    lottery to fund education, and a businessman donated to pro-lottery campaign, not to Don,
    who later re-appointed the donor to a nonpaying commission on which he had been serving during the terms of 3 previous governors.

    Federal prosecutors alleged the donations constituted a bribe, led to theft of honest
    services & violated RICO. Siegelman was convicted and sent to Club Fed.

    If appointing a donor to some commission or office is really a crime, then every president and governor ought to be in the slammer.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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