Blagojevich guilty of trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat
Former Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 of 20 counts Monday, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.
Prosecutors broke down the former governor’s case into five shakedown schemes, telling a mostly female jury that he was motivated by his lack of money — in late 2008 he was $200,000 in debt.
Blagojevich’s first trial ended in August with a conviction on a charge of lying to federal agents and a jury deadlock on the 23 other counts in the indictment, including racketeering, bribery, attempted extortion, and wire fraud.
Prosecutors immediately vowed to retry the case while the flamboyant politician and media phenomenon returned to the airwaves, pitching everything from his innocence to pistachios.
During the first trial, the jury heard a host of secret tapes of Blagojevich’s profanity-filled conversations.
The most explosive was when he called his chance to appoint a new senator to replace Obama “fucking golden,” and said “I’m not just gonna give it up for fucking nothing.”
“Patti and I are very disappointed in the outcome,” the former governor told reporters following the verdict. “I, frankly, am stunned.”
“There is not much left to say other than we want to get home to our little girls and talk to them and explain things to them and try to sort things out. And I’m sure we’ll be seeing you guys again.”
Watch this video is from CNN’s Newsroom, broadcast June 6, 2011.
Watch Shepard Smith announce the verdict in this video from Fox News’ Studio B, broadcast June 27, 2011.
– With earlier reporting by AFP
[This report was last updated June 27, 2011 at 4:20 p.m. ET]