Retrial In Prospect If Blagojevich Jury Deadlocks In Chicago


The case of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may be headed for a retrial if the jury deadlocks, experts tell the Chicago Tribune. The jury of six men and six women told U.S. District Judge James Zagel they could decide on only two of the charges against Blagojevich and his brother, Robert Blagojevich. The panel said it could not reach a verdict on 11 others and hadn’t deliberated on another 11 counts.

“The defense should be patting itself on the back,” said Thaddeus Hoffmeister, a law professor at the University of Dayton. “The prosecution will consider this a loss. I’m sure they’re reviewing the case right now and perhaps rethinking their strategy.” Experts predict that as the government awaits the verdict, prosecutors already are trying to identify the flaws in a case that once looked like a rout and figure out how to remedy them in a retrial, should one be necessary. That decision obviously will depend on how many counts – if any – Blagojevich is convicted of and the potential penalty he faces. Many of the counts in the indictment carry statutory sentences of up to 20 years in prison, while a few carry five years. Most observers agree that if the former governor dodges a conviction on the most serious counts, prosecutors will be loath to abandon a case that featured the arrest of a sitting governor at his home and the stunning accusation that he tried to auction off a Senate seat vacated by President Obama. Most experts said a plea bargain also would appear to be out of the picture.

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