Is this worth it? That was the question from Blagojevich’s defense team after the government announced it would retry the case. The defense immediately positioned themselves for a philosphoical showdown with the government.
Blagojevich, after being convicted of lying to the FBI by a jury of his peers, started the show by returing to a familiar theme: I didn't do anything wrong.
“To the people of Illinois that from the very beginning when this all happened I told them that I did not let them down, I did not break any laws, I didn’t do anything wrong,” he said flanked by his wife Patti, and his lead counselors Sam Adam and Sam Adam Jr. “The government, the federal government and this particular prosecutor did everything he could to persecute me, put pressure on my family, try to take our home take our kids arrest me in the middle of the night.
“That very prosecutor said he was stopping a crime spree, this jury just showed you after throwing everything but the kitchen sink at me could only convict me on one charge from a nebulous conversation that happened 5 years ago.”
Blagojevich sounded as though he were speaking directly to the members of the next jury that will be tasked with judging him.
“Let me also point out that we didn’t even put on a defense and they couldn’t prove their case.”
Grabbing his client's rhetorical baton, Sam Adam Jr. made no bones about his team's strategy going forward.
“We’re here at a time in which after 18 months the government came down here and all you hear was this was a crime spree and however you want to phrase it the government couldn’t prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Adam Jr. said. “I’m talking to the people of Illinois – they’re going to say I’m talking to the next jury, yes I’m talking to the next jury!”
Then he took it to the voters and politicians.
“Why should the people of Illinois and the taxpayers of Illinois pay me when we have dead babies on the street, when we have gang bangers.” Adam Jr. said in his bombastic way. “I wish everyone here in this group would go upstairs and ask Mr. Fitzgerald why are we spending $25 million to $30 million on a retrial when you couldn’t prove it the first time? … Is this worth it? That’s what I have to ask the people of Illinois: Is this worth it?”
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald didn’t respond to Adam’s call when he addressed the media moments later.
Fitzgerald was measured in his response.
“Earlier this afternoon the jury convicted the former governor of lying to the FBI,” he said. “They couldn’t reach a decision of guilty or innocent on the remaining charges. As you know we intend to retry those counts. The only point I’ll make is that we’re close to choosing another jury,” Fitzgerald said. He then praised the jury for its hard work and noting the importance of jury work.
The next court date is scheduled for Aug. 26.