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Blagojevich asks that retrial be canceled

March 9, 2011 at 9:10 AM   |   Comments

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CHICAGO, March 9 (UPI) -- Citing the lousy economy, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich asked a court to sentence him for his conviction from his first trial and cancel the retrial.

Blagojevich is to go to trial for a second time on corruption charges in April, but his attorneys asked the judge to cancel the trial in their motion filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

In his first trial, Blagojevich was convicted on one charge of lying to the FBI, with the jury deadlocked on the other 23 counts against him, including an accusation he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat once occupied by President Barack Obama.

"A second prosecution of this case is an irresponsible use of taxpayer funds in light of the current economic crisis and Blagojevich's imminent sentencing on the conviction from the first trial," the petition read. "Should this motion be granted, and preparation for retrial is no longer required, funds for the second trial would no longer be necessary. There would be no further cost to taxpayers."

The court could immediately conduct a sentencing hearing on Blagojevich's conviction from the first trial and the government could "focus its financial resources on new investigations that have come to their attention."

The petition said the defense team hasn't been paid for nearly nine months, hindering Blagojevich's rights to a fair trial, present a defense and effective assistance of counsel.

"Blagojevich's aforementioned rights cannot be sustained under the current economic situation," the petition read.

While Blagojevich maintains his innocence on the charges, he was convicted of making a false statement and must be sentenced on that conviction, the document said.

"The government's continued prosecution of this case should cease," the petition said. "This case was tried once, at a full trial, which lasted over two months."

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