NPR logo Prosecutors To Retry Rod Blagojevich In 2011, Drop Charges Against His Brother


Prosecutors To Retry Rod Blagojevich In 2011, Drop Charges Against His Brother

At a hearing today, prosecutors announced they have dropped charges against Robert Blagojevich, the brother of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The retrial for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will take place in early January, Judge James Zagel announced today.

At a hearing, prosecutors decided to drop all charges against his brother, Robert Blagojevich, a Nashville businessman, because he had a "less central role in allegedly scheming to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's old Senate seat, and to pressure people for campaign donations, The Associated Press reports.

According to NPR's David Schaper, "Robert Blagojevich had become the head of the Blagojevich campaign fund in the last four months before Rod Blagojevich, his brother and then governor, was arrested and charged in this vast, wide-ranging corruption scandal."

Prosecutors say that they felt it was just in the interest of justice, that given the vast disparity in the weight of the charges against Robert and Rod Blagoviech, that they felt it was better to keep the focus of this case on the former governor himself, and not on his brother.

Blagojevich has said that, because of his legal bills, taxpayers will have to foot the bill for his legal defense.

Zagel "reiterated that he probably won't allow the former governor to have more than two taxpayer-funded lawyers," The Chicago Tribune reports, adding "he would be open to allowing more attorneys if they volunteered their time."