Blagojevich, Senate Seat: Just Bad Language In Legal Gray Area?


U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald announced the arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for plotting to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat, but some lawyers suggest that the juiciest part of the case may be less than airtight, says the New York Times. No evidence has has been disclosed that the governor actually received anything of value, and the Senate appointment has yet to be made. The law never has established a clear-cut line between the offensive and the illegal; hours of wiretapped conversations involving Blagojevich, filled with crass, profane talk, may fall into a legal gray area.

Robert Bennett, one of Washington's best-known white-collar criminal defense lawyers, said Blagojevich faced nearly insurmountable legal problems in a case that includes a raft of corruption accusations unrelated to the Senate seat. Still, “You have to wonder, How much of this guy's problem was his language, rather than what he really did?,” Bennett said.” Fitzgerald has explained that, “We're not trying to criminalize people making political horse trades on policies or that sort of thing, but it is criminal when people are doing it for their personal enrichment. And they're doing it in a way that is, in this case, clearly criminal.”


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