Appeals court overturns some Blagojevich convictions

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |  July 21, 2015 at 4:30 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter
| License Photo

CHICAGO, July 21 (UPI) -- An appeals court on Tuesday overturned four of Rod Blagojevich's corruption convictions, a ruling that may or may not result in less prison time for the former Illinois governor.

Blagojevich was convicted in 2011 on 18 counts of corruption charges, including trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat of President Barack Obama. He was sentenced to 14 tears in prison at a facility in Colorado.

Judges with the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned four of those convictions, saying Blagojevich's attempt to appoint Valerie Jarrett in Obama's former Senate seat in exchange for a position on Obama's cabinet was "a common exercise in logrolling." The ruling said this didn't violate the law.

In his appeal, Blagojevich's lawyers argued a number of errors were made by Judge James Zagel, including improperly instructing the jury about the law concerning fraud, extortion and bribery.

The overturned convictions could mean a reduction in sentencing for Blagojevich, though that may be unlikely. The 7th Circuit Court's opinion said removing the four convictions doesn't affect the sentencing range. The judges also said Zagel's sentencing in the first place was perhaps too lenient.

7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on Rod Blagojevich

Trending Stories