Blagojevich in Narrow Escape

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has won the first round of his battle with prosecutors after a jury absolved him of all but one of the 24 charges leveled against him for allegedly trying to sell the senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

The jury always came one vote short of convicting Blagojevich on several charges that included racketeering, wire fraud, and bribery, among others. However, Blagojevich was convicted on the charge of lying to the FBI, the least serious of all the charges. The former governor said he will appeal his conviction while prosecutors said they will push for a retrial on the other charges. Blagojevich could face up to five years in prison if his conviction for giving out false statements is upheld.

“What the jury decided today was that I didn’t let the people of Illinois down,” Blagojevich said. “There was no crime spree. There was no corruption. I’ve been lied about, you’ve been lied to.”

Blagojevich was arrested in December 2008 on several charges including trying to sell Obama’s senate seat. He was removed from office in January 2009 after both the state House and state Senate impeached him and barred him from holding any public office in Illinois.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.