Court Overturns Some Blagojevich Convictions

But it might not make much of a difference in his prison time
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2015 3:42 PM CDT
In this 2012 file photo, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich waves as he departs his Chicago home for Littleton, Colo., to begin his 14-year prison sentence.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

(Newser) – Rod Blagojevich got some news today that sounds great on the surface: A judge overturned five of the more "sensational" corruption convictions against the former Illinois governor and ordered him to be resentenced, reports AP. But as the Chicago Tribune notes, it may not ultimately affect his 14-year sentence, and he's not getting out in the interim. The federal appeals court called the evidence against Blagojevich "overwhelming"—the other 13 convictions against him stand—and suggested the original sentence was not at all too harsh. However, the court found that jurors got improper instructions on five counts connected to his proposed deal with the White House: In exchange for a Cabinet post, he'd appoint Obama aide Valerie Jarrett to the president's vacated Senate seat, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Prosecutors could appeal, seek to retry Blagojevich on the five counts, or let Blagojevich go back before the original judge for resentencing. The appeals court didn't sound sympathetic to Blagojevich, but because the five counts may have had some effect on the total sentence, it says the judge must take another look. “It is not possible to call 168 months unlawfully high for Blagojevich’s crimes, but the district judge should consider on remand whether it is the most appropriate sentence,” says today's opinion. Blagojevich's brother, Robert, said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the news. “I’m hopeful that this will lead to a long overdue, positive outcome for my brother. Justice is long overdue.

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