John Gress/Getty Images
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is seen leaving the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago earlier this month.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is seen leaving the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago earlier this month. John Gress/Getty Images
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Sunday that he won't rule out an attempt to return to politics if federal prosecutors fail to convict him at a planned second corruption trial.
It's been less than a week since Blagojevich was convicted of lying to federal agents. But jurors deadlocked on 23 other charges against the former governor, who was accused of trying to sell President Obama's former Senate seat. But Blagojevich said on Fox News Sunday that he will be vindicated.
"I didn't lie to the FBI. And I'm not lying to you, and I'm not lying to the people," Blagojevich told talk show host Chris Wallace.
When Wallace asked Blagojevich if he would run for office again, he answered, "If you're asking me, do I believe that there's a potential political comeback in the future, when I'm vindicated in this case, absolutely I do."
Blagojevich's appearance on the talk show was part of a media blitz that began Friday when he appeared on NBC's Today show. The appearances seem intended to appeal, at least in part, to anyone who might end up on a second jury.
It was widely believed that media appearances Blagojevich made before his first trial, including on the Celebrity Apprentice reality show, were attempts to influence potential jurors.
The former governor repeatedly insisted Sunday that he had been involved in nothing more than "political horse trading" and that he didn't try to trade political appointments and other favors for campaign contributions. But when Wallace pressed him, asking whether he had talked about getting money from U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s supporters before appointing Jackson to the Senate, Blagojevich sidestepped the question.
"My brother very clearly said we — money will have nothing to do with this decision," he said.
Blagojevich's older brother, Robert Blagojevich, a Nashville, Tenn., businessman, was charged with him. The 23 counts on which jurors deadlocked included four involving Robert Blagojevich.
As he did before his first trial, Blagojevich said he would testify and that his attorneys would call a number of prominent Democrats, including White House adviser Rahm Emmanuel and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
But when Wallace noted that a similar defense had been promised but not delivered during the first trial, Blagojevich backed off and stopped short of promising to testify.
"I'm going to do what I did in the first trial, which is work with my lawyers and see how things unfold," he said.
A federal judge has scheduled a Thursday hearing to decide the manner and timing of a retrial.