Supreme Court Meets to Consider Blagojevich Appeal Request - NBC Chicago
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Supreme Court Meets to Consider Blagojevich Appeal Request

The decision could come as soon as Monday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Blagojevich Wants Appeal Heard by Supreme Court

    Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is hoping the Supreme Court will agree to hear his appeal of his convictions. NBC 5's Phil Rogers has the latest. 

    (Published Friday, April 13, 2018)

    For Rod Blagojevich and his family, it promises to be a long weekend.

    “We’re just hoping for the best,” Patti Blagojevich told NBC5.  “It makes it difficult for everybody to concentrate.”

    On Friday, the United States Supreme Court was scheduled to begin considering Blagojevich’s request that they hear his appeal.  Such conference proceedings take place behind closed doors, but a decision could be announced as early as Monday.

    The former governor is in his 7th year of a 14 year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in suburban Denver.

    Blagojevich Makes One More Attempt at Prison Release

    [CHI] Blagojevich Makes One More Attempt at Prison Release

    Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is making one more attempt to get out of prison early. Thursday his lawyers filed a petition with the US Supreme Court. NBC 5 Investigates' Phil Rogers has the details on his pleas for freedom. 

    (Published Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017)

    There is a larger issue than Blagojevich’s freedom.  Numerous politicians and others have filed briefs with the court, asking that they take Blagojevich’s case to clear up what even opponents agree is arcane and at times, even conflicting campaign finance law.

    “Why is it so easy to put politicians in jail in the Midwest, and so difficult on the east coast,” asked Leonard Goodman, Blagojevich’s attorney.  “If we’re going to require elected officials who aren’t independently wealthy to go out and raise funds, tell them what the line is so that they can follow the rules.”

    At issue, one standard (McCormick v. United States) which says a politician breaks the law if he makes an explicit promise to do something in exchange for a campaign contribution.  But another ruling (Evans v. United States) presents a conflict in the eyes of many critics---that the lawmaker only needs to believe that something is expected.

    “Very murky standards,” Goodman says.  “Federal judges have pronounced themselves confused by these standards and asked the Supreme Court to step in and clarify.”

    Prosecutors disagree.

    “No such conflict exists,” the government wrote in its brief for the high court.  “Petitioner’s argument is without merit; and this would be a poor case to address the argument in any event.”

    Blagojevich Has Two Options For Freedom And One is Donald Trump

    [CHI] Blagojevich Has Two Options For Freedom And One is Donald Trump

    Rod Blagojevich vividly recalls the night Barack Obama won his historic first election as president of the United States. Phil Rogers reports.

    (Published Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017)

    “Petitioner has presented no consistent position on what ‘explicit’ means,” the government argued. 

    But other observers who filed briefs with the court argue clarification is needed. 

    “Although Blagojevich is an unsympathetic petitioner, the court should hear his case,” David Keating, President of the Institute of Free Speech wrote this week in the publication The Hill.  “The Supreme Court finally has a chance to provide clarity and a uniform standard nationally by taking this case.”

    There are no hard and fast rules about how the Court might proceed.  They could reveal a decision Monday.  Or they could kick the matter to another conference next Friday. 

    In the meantime, Blagojevich and his family wait, knowing this is his last appeal, and short of a commutation from the White House, his last hope of getting out of prison early.

    “When you know in your heart what your actions were and what your intentions were, and you know you were always trying to stay on the right side of the law, you’re hopeful and optimistic that this tremendous injustice is going to be righted,” Patti Blagojevich told NBC5, “and we’ll get some justice for our family and my husband will come home.”

    EXCLUSIVE: Blagojevich Has Two Options For Freedom—And One is Donald Trump

    [CHI] EXCLUSIVE: Blagojevich Has Two Options For Freedom—And One is Donald Trump

    In the third part of our exclusive interview, Blagojevich recalls Obama’s presidential victory—and the daunting question it posed for him. Phil Rogers reports.

    (Published Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017)

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