The Supreme Court has for the second time rejected an appeal by imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of his convictions on corruption charges.
The justices did not comment Monday in letting stand the convictions and 14-year prison term that Blagojevich is serving. He’s scheduled to be released in 2024.
Blagojevich’s lawyers had wanted the high court to take up his case to make clear what constitutes illegal political fundraising. They argued that politicians are vulnerable to prosecution because the line between what’s allowed and what’s illegal is blurry.
His convictions included trying to extort a children’s hospital for contributions and seeking to trade an appointment to the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated when he was elected president for campaign cash.
His attorney, Leonard Goodman, presented the Supreme Court this time with two questions: Whether prosecutors in a case like Blagojevich’s must prove a public official made an “explicit promise or undertaking” in exchange for a campaign contribution, and whether more consideration should have been given to sentences handed down in similar cases. […]
“Our petition lays out a compelling case that the Supreme Court needs to settle the confusion among federal courts about the dividing line between campaign fundraising, something all elected officials are required to do (unless they are billionaires) and the federal crimes of extortion and bribery,” Goodman said last year.
The attorney also complained that Blagojevich’s sentence “was more than twice as long as that given any other official convicted of corruption.”