Corruption Trial Underway for Former IL Gov. Rod Blagojevich

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By Kamika Dunlap on June 07, 2010 11:00 AM

The corruption trial of former IL Governor Rod Blagojevich is underway in a federal courtroom in Chicago, Illinois.

The trial marks the beginning of what is expected to be an 18-month ordeal for Rod Blagojevich. Two senior members of President Barack Obama's administration have also been subpoenaed as witnesses in the trial, CNN reports.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett have been subpoenaed, officials said.

As previously discussed, former Il Gov. Rod Blagojevich was removed from office after an alleged attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama and other alleged efforts to leverage the powers of his office.

In addition, prosecutors re-indicted Blagojevich because the constitutionality of the law underpinning some of Blagojevich's original charges -- honest services fraud -- has been challenged and is currently the subject of U.S. Supreme Court review in another case.

Blagojevich's lawyers were hoping to get the trial pushed back five months until November. They had expected a decision might come from the U.S. Supreme Court on honest services fraud.

The Supreme Court may resolve the honest services issue sometime this month.

In general, the law against honest services fraud makes it a crime for public officials to deprive the public, or the government, of the right to have those public officials perform their duties honestly.

In April, in April, Blagojevich's lawyers filed a motion seeking to subpoena President Obama to testify in the case, as previously discussed.

However, President Obama has publicly said that he had no knowledge to allegations made in the indictment or about talks regarding filling his Senate seat.

In addition, there was no allegation in the court papers of any wrongdoing the President's part.

As previously discussed, Blagojevich is facing racketeering, attempted extortion, bribery, bribery conspiracy and extortion conspiracy charges.