Blagojevich appeal filed July 15, 2013, Attorney Len Goodman, Lauren Kaeseberg, Judge James Zagel barred FBI wiretap evidence, Juror bias, Why was appeal delayed?
“Why did Judge James Zagel allow only 2 percent of the Blagojevich wiretaps to be released?”…Citizen Wells
“I can tell you that, based on court rules and procedures, Judge James Zagel carries some of the blame for the delay in the transcripts.
The question is, what was Judge Zagel’s motivation?”…Citizen Wells
“Regardless of how this plays out, it benefits Obama. If there is no appeal or the appeal is denied, Blagojevich will be sequestered. If the appeal proceeds, it could drag out beyond impacting the 2012 election cycle. The intent is obvious.”…Citizen Wells, July 19, 2011
From The Oakland Press July 16, 2013.
“Blagojevich appeals convictions, stiff sentence”
“Lawyers for Rod Blagojevich filed an appeal Monday challenging the imprisoned former Illinois governor’s corruption conviction and stiff, 14-year prison term.
The lengthy filing with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago comes more than two years after the Chicago Democrat’s retrial and 16 months after he entered a federal prison in Colorado.
Jurors convicted Blagojevich, 56, of engaging in wide-ranging corruption, including that the two-term governor sought to profit from his power to appoint someone to the U.S. Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated to become president.
The appeal cites a juror who allegedly expressed a bias against Blagojevich who was seated despite the objections of defense attorneys. It also raises longstanding claims that Judge James Zagel barred FBI wiretap evidence that might have aided the defense and argues the judge miscalculated the appropriate prison term.
The appeal was filed about 30 minutes before a midnight deadline to do so.
In June, Blagojevich’s attorneys requested permission to file a longer-than-usual appeal, noting the trial produced 12,000 pages of transcripts. “The issues for appeal are numerous and complicated,” they wrote. The court agreed to let them file the equivalent of about 100 pages, which is what they did.
Blagojevich was convicted on 18 counts over two trials, jurors in the first deadlocking on all but one count. Taking the stand in the second, decisive trial in 2011, Blagojevich insisted his talking about wanting to sell Obama’s seat was just that — talk.
At his sentencing hearing later in 2011, an uncharacteristically deferential Blagojevich asked Zagel for mercy and said he accepted responsibility. He told the court in a hushed voice, “I caused it all.”
Despite those words, Zagel imposed a lengthy prison term, telling Blagojevich he had abused voters’ trust and undermined the democratic process “to do things that were only good for yourself.”
Many observers at the time said Blagojevich’s best hope on appeal wasn’t that a higher court would overturn his convictions but that appellate judges would agree his sentence was too harsh.”