Update: Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 of 20 charges against him. The jury was deadlocked in two counts and declared Blagojevich not guilty on only one charge against him. An excerpt from the jury’s note:
“The jury has come to a unanimous decision on 18 of 20 counts … We are confident that we will not be able to come to agreement on the two counts even with further deliberation.”
After hearing the verdict, Blagojevich turned to his defense attorney and asked, ”What happened?”
In what was yet another judgment day for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, the jury will come back shortly after 2 p.m. EST after agreeing on 18 of 20 charges in Blagojevich’s second corruption trial in as many years.
A news helicopter followed the S.U.V. carrying Blagojevich as he traveled to the courthouse to hear the verdict Monday afternoon. Chicago media remains riveted to his every comment:
Rod #Blagojevich: "It's in God's hands, now."
It took the jury nearly two weeks of deliberations to reach a verdict. Blagojevich, initially charged with trying to sell the Illinois Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama, peppered a second, 27-hour round of testimonies with comments that ran the gamut from comical to cringe-inducing — a Chicago Tribune reporter caught them all here.
Here’s a refresher of one of the odder political debacles in Illinois history after the jump:
• Blagojevich’s first trial ended last August with his conviction of one charge — lying to the FBI. On 23 other charges against him, the jury was deadlocked.
• In March, Blagojevich unsuccessfully petitioned the judge to cancel his retrial and promptly sentence him on the sole conviction from his first trial, arguing that money woes prevented him from mounting an ample defense.
• Blagojevich, now more kooky reality star than disgraced politician, expressed an interest in reality television as early as 2009, though his wife, Patti, was the first Blagojevich to take the plunge. (As celebreality-era irony would eventually have it, Blago was fired by in 2010 failed-presidential-candidate-cum-birther Donald Trump on “Celebrity Apprentice.”)
• In March 2010, Blagojevich delivered a speech on ethics to students at Northwestern University, his alma mater.
• In what can only be seen as true proof of his infamy, Blagojevich has been the subject of fake Twitter accounts. He has also maintained the sort of coif only a Halloween costume manufacturer could love.
• Blagojevich’s statements have long ranged from comical to cringe-inducing. He has since apologized for one particularly incendiary quote, in which he told Esquire magazine, “I’m blacker than Barack Obama.”
• On a serious note, if you need to jog your memory of either trial, the Chicago Tribune has maintained an excellent roundup of court documents, including audio evidence, pertaining to the Blagojevich case. Blagojevich’s predecessor, former Gov. George Ryan, is serving a 6-year sentence.