Ward Room
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Judge Denies Motion to Nullify Blago's Single Conviction

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has lost his bid to nullify his single conviction.

    In a short, two-page opinion, U.S. District Judge James Zagel said defense arguments for quashing the guilty verdict for lying to
    the FBI relied on a "well-known principle that if a lawyer cannot attack the law or facts ... the only recourse is to attack the
    prosecutor."

    In a September filing, Blagojevich lawyers asked Zagel to override jurors' verdict and acquit Blagojevich of lying, or set it
    aside and try him again on that charge.

    "The fact is that the government knew -- and knows -- that Blagojevich was not lying to the FBI,'' the motion argued.  "The
    conviction in this case is not legally sound."

    Zagel disagreed.

    "One aspect of the case that makes it clear that the defense had no attack on the law or the facts...  is that defense counsel did not, and correctly so, choose to attack the evidence of defendant's culpability of the offense for which he was found guilty," he wrote.

    Jurors convicted the impeached governor on just the one of 24 counts in August after a two-and-a-half month trial. A retrial on
    the 23 deadlocked charges is set for April.