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Rod Blagojevich Guilty of Corruption, Jury Finds

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on June 27, 2011 3:01 PM

Former Illinois Rod Blagojevich is guilty of corruption. Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial has ended with a guilty jury verdict on 17 out of 20 charges of corruption that were levied against him.

The jury deliberated for 9 days before reaching its decision.

Blagojevich took the stand earlier during the trial, testifying for 7 days. He repeatedly denied the allegations of corruption during his testimony, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

11 of the 17 corruption charges were from allegations that he had tried to sell President Obama's vacant Senate seat, reports the Sun-Times.

Representatives of Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. had offered Blagojevich $1.5 million in campaign contributions if he would name Rep. Jackson as Obama's replacement, according to the Sun-Times. During Blagojevich's cross-examination, he admitted that this would have been illegal but that it wasn't an attempted bribe. The contribution never went through.

The other counts Blagojevich was charged with included wire fraud, conspiracy to commit extortion, attempted extortion, and conspiracy to solicit a bribe, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. In addition to selling Obama's Senate seat, Blagojevich had also been implicated in holding up grants and other legislation, demanding campaign contributions in return.

The crime of bribery cuts both ways. Usually, both the person who offers the bribe and the person accepting the bribe can be charged with bribery. And, bribery can encompass a variety of different situations, including when someone offers money or gifts in exchange for favorable treatment or government rewards.

Blagojevich soliciting or encouraging prospective Senate candidates to give him campaign contributions in order to earn the appointment is certainly something that would fit under the "bribery" umbrella.

Rod Blagojevich has been found guilty before. Earlier, Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial last August had only netted prosecutors with a count of lying to federal officials because the jury could not reach a decision on the other counts. Prosecutors then opted to re-try the former governor, reports Reuters.

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