More Blagojevich Trial Post-Mortems, Let's Talk About Robert

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has embarked on a new round of media interviews. He's everywhere from the morning news shows and radio to Fox News Sunday (tomorrow morning) proclaiming his innocence and protesting his persecution at the hands of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Here's the transcript of yesterday's Today Show appearance.

John Dean has a trial post-mortem at Findlaw. He makes the same points I did during the trial and jury deliberations, but much more succinctly and in one place. It's a good read. Shorter version: The Government overcharged Blago, presented a needlessly complex case and hopelessly confused the jurors.

But enough about Rod, let's talk about Robert Blagojevich. as I wrote a few days ago in Blagojevich: The Retrial and More From the Jurors, the jurors reportedly voted 9 to 3 to acquit Robert. [More...]

From the Chicago Sun Times:

Nine jurors voted in favor of acquittal on the four counts involving Robert Blagojevich and three voted to convict, Grover said.

“I’m further resolved to hear it was a 9 to 3 result in my favor,” Robert Blagojevich said today. “I’m an innocent man. I’ve done nothing wrong. The majority of the jury thought that was the case.”

The interviewed jurors also said the Government should not retry Robert. Here's Robert in a media interview this weekend:

[Video since deleted]

Robert has paid almost a million dollars for his defense so far. While he's a successful businessman, he took out a second mortgage for the first trial and likely will have to sell his home to fund a retrial.

The Chicago Tribune reports on the continued rift between Rod and his brother Robert. He and Rod haven't spoken since the verdict. (It's not he doesn't want to speak to Rod, he's just waiting for Rod to call.) He doesn't seem to fault Rod, as much as state the obvious:

"Rod is unfortunately an undisciplined, all over the place, sometimes out-of-control guy who speaks without thinking, and that's what's gotten him and me in trouble," said Robert.

Having said that, Robert strongly defends his brother as an innocent man who never acted with criminal intent. "Rod and I are very different people, we have very different approaches to problems, and I wish him well in his strategy," said Robert.

Here's more from the jurors on why they wanted to clear Robert and send him home.

Fox News says in the article linked above:

One wonders if this Blagojevich had twice been elected governor, whether Illinois might be in far better shape than it is today.

Robert told Fox regardless of the drain, he'll continue to fund his own defense:

He said he would not ask taxpayers to foot the bill for his defense in any retrial: "There's no bailout program for Rob Blagojevich. I'll tell you that. No, I'm responsible. And I'll take care of myself."

At a minimum, he should get a severance from Rod and be tried first. Rod's legal team is in flux. It's unclear whether the judge will let them off the hook, or demand they retry the case with payment through the Criminal Justice Act. (The rate of pay isn't an issue, as Rod's legal team was being paid at CJA rates from the campaign fund with interim payments after court approval.) A new team could take up to 18 months to prepare.

Robert's lawyer tells Fox he's ready to go to trial next month and his retrial shouldn't take more than a few days.

I think it's time to start a "Free Robert" movement.

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  • Robert's charges should be dropped (none / 0) (#1)
    by Untold Story on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 05:19:57 PM EST
    completely. He seems honorable imo.  Never dissed on his brother despite the problems he has caused Robert and his family.  

    Go in peace Robert, all charges dismissed.

    Did defendants move for separate trials (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 07:15:34 PM EST
    before their initial trials?

    Robert moved for a severance (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Aug 21, 2010 at 07:47:02 PM EST
    before trial. He argued that the "overwhelming" evidence against Rod Blagojevich will have a prejudicial "spill over" effect on him."  He also argued there was only a small amount of evidence against him and he would suffer from the publicity, potential expense, and inconvenience of a joint trial. .The Government opposed, stating in their 4/19/10 response:

       Robert Blagojevich's significant involvement in almost all the attempted extortions and briberies charged here, including the encompassing honest services fraud scheme, means that virtually all of the evidence against Rod Blagojevich is equally admissible and relevant as to Robert Blagojevich.

    Which hardly seems to be the case. While the Government threw his name in the RICO counts, he wasn't charged in them. One of the two honest services counts was dismissed before it went to the jury. Nor was he alleged to have been involved in the count involving Rahm (14) or the false statements (24.) His total involvement was allegedly 4 months while the RICO charge spanned 2003-2008.

    So, what's the deal here? (none / 0) (#4)
    by caseyOR on Sun Aug 22, 2010 at 03:19:37 AM EST
    Is Patrick Fitzgerald just a sore loser? Retrying either Blagojevich seems to me to be a huge waste of taxpayer dollars and federal attorney resources. Retrying Robert would be a vindictive abuse of power.