Blagojevich Convicted On Nearly All Charges
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
NPR's David Schaper reports from the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in downtown Chicago.
DAVID SCHAPER: Of the 20 counts in the indictment against Blagojevich, the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on only two of the counts and found him not guilty on just one. As he walked out of Chicago's downtown federal courthouse hand in hand with his wife Patti, the normally upbeat and verbose Blagojevich had little to say.
BLOCK: Well, among the many lessons that I've learned from this whole experience is to try to speak a little bit less, so I'm going to keep my remarks kind of short. Patti and I obviously are very disappointed in the outcome. I frankly am stunned. There's not much left to say other than we want to get home to our little girls and talk to them and explain things to them and then try to sort things out. And I'm sure we'll be seeing you guys again.
U: Governor, did you get a fair trial?
SCHAPER: Blagojevich is the second consecutive Illinois governor to be convicted on corruption charges. The other is Republican George Ryan, who is still serving his sentence in a federal prison. And to high-profile U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the verdict is a vindication of sorts after last year's trial resulted in a hung jury on all but one charge.
BLOCK: When a sitting official, a governor tries to sell a Senate seat, tries to shake down a children's hospital and tries to demand cash before signing legislation that's sitting on his desk, that's an affront to the citizens. And it's right that the citizens' interests are vindicated.
SCHAPER: Under cross-examination, Blagojevich struggled to explain the schemes he was charged with and what exactly he meant when he said things like this.
(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDED PHONE CONVERSATION)
BLOCK: I mean, I've got this thing, and it's (bleep) golden. And I'm just not giving it up for (bleep) nothing.
SCHAPER: David Schaper, NPR News, Chicago.
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