Rod Blagojevich to judge: Sentence me now
By Natasha Korecki Federal Courts Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org March 9, 2011 5:54AM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Rod Blagojevich threw a Hail Mary pass Wednesday, saying he wants to cancel his upcoming retrial, asking to be sentenced immediately.
It left legal observers scratching their heads, considering 20 counts remain pending against the former governor.
“It’s silly,” says Richard Kling, a defense lawyer and Kent Law School professor. “He has no bargaining power with respect to sentencing. To say I’m willing to be sentenced on something I’m already supposed to be
sentenced on, is really saying nothing.”
Blagojevich’s lawyers filed a five-page motion Wednesday morning asking to proceed to sentencing right away and avoid a retrial that’s set to begin April 20, saying in part, that they haven’t been paid. A budget crisis in
Washington D.C. has recently meant public defenders would have to wait on payments coming from taxpayer coffers.
Kling said that’s not a reason for abandoning a case.
“If he wanted to say, I want to negotiate a plea ... that might be something the prosecution might be willing to listen to,” Kling said.
U.S. District Judge James Zagel and federal prosecutors would have to agree to dismiss the remaining counts against the former governor.
“There’s charges pending, the only way they get out of those charges is if the government drops them,” says Michael Ettinger, a federal defense lawyer who represented Blagojevich’s brother, Robert. Charges against Rob
Blagojevich were dropped after the last trial. Ettinger said though it is imperative that defense lawyers get paid in the case.
In the summer, Blagojevich was convicted of just one out of 24 counts against him — lying to the FBI. That count carries a maximum five-year penalty. Remaining counts could mean up to 20 years in prison.
Jurors in the first trial were deadlocked on the remaining counts. But among those remaining are accusations that the former governor tried selling President Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. Blagojevich narrowly missed conviction
on the Senate seat counts, with jurors voting 11-1 on many of the charges.