How Strong Is Federal Case Against Blagojevich?


How tight is the criminal case against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich that prosecutors call blatant corruption? The Associated Press reports that some experts say prosecutors may have a tough time overcoming the fact that Blagojevich didn’t sell the Senate seat. “The weakness in the government’s case seems to be that Blagojevich schemed to do things but didn’t actually do them,” Chicago defense attorney John Beal said. Blagojevich has not been indicted. He is charged in a one-page complaint accompanied by a 76-page FBI affidavit. The government has 30 days to bring an indictment – a time limit that can be extended repeatedly if a judge gives permission.

Veteran attorneys say that when the indictment comes, it may bring to the surface an array of allegations not contained in the affidavit, and then the truest strength of the prosecution’s case may be better judged. The indictment could also produce a more sweeping case with additional charges, on top of the fraud and bribery counts Blagojevich already faces. Professor Albert Alschuler of Northwestern University law school said “the strength of the case is in the wiretap evidence and the nice simple charges about the Tribune and the Senate seat. If I were the defense lawyer I would be sitting down with the clients and telling them that this is not a winnable case and we ought to try to strike a deal.”


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