Blagojevich lawyers file appeal

Attorneys for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich (D) have filed a last-minute appeal of his convictions and 14-year prison sentence.

Blagojevich was found guilty on 18 counts of corruption in 2010 and 2011 and was sentenced to 14 years in December 2011.

In their appeal, his lawyers say the evidence against him was insufficient and the jury was misled as to what the law was. They also allege that a judge excluded crucial evidence and prevented Blagojevich's lawyers from challenging the bias of government witnesses.

"The government was thus permitted to introduce a large amount of highly prejudicial evidence that had almost no relevance to the case and/or was inadmissible hearsay," Blagojevich's team says in the appeal. "On the other hand, highly relevant and admissible evidence for the defense was routinely excluded."

The judge in the case was U.S. District Judge James Zagel.

Federal prosecutors will now respond to the appeal, and the matter could be in the courts for months or years to come. A three-judge panel would determine whether Blagojevich's verdict would be overturned.

Blagojevich is currently serving his sentence in federal prison in Colorado, where has has been for more than a year.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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