Rod Blagojevich, the disgraced and convicted ex-governor of Illinois, hasn’t seen enough of the courtroom. He’d rather be there than in a prison cell, where he’ll go for 20 years or so, unless he wins on appeal or gets a new trial.
Accordingly, the former governor is seeking another trial in federal court (it would be his third) and has compiled 158 pages worth of reasons why he should get one. Put most succinctly, Blagojevich says he was “bamboozled” by the trial judge, Judge James Zagel of the Northern District of Illinois.
Blagojevich, it will be recalled, was convicted last month of essentially putting his office up for sale, most sensationally in trying to auction off the Illinois Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he was elected president in 2008.
But the verdict wasn’t fair, the defendant says, and he knows whom to blame. “Virtually every error in this trial stemmed from the fact that this court deprived Blagojevich of the presumption of innocence and exhibited bias against the defense,” reads a typical passage of the motion for a new trial, according to a report on Politico, which credits an account in The Chicago Tribune.
The Tribune said prosecutors will respond soon to the defense motion.
But does Blagojevich really want a third trial? In the first trial, he was convicted on only one of 24 charges, with the jury unable to decide on the others. In the second go-around, prosecutors obtained guilty verdicts on 17 of 20 charges. That’s not an encouraging trend for the defense.