What the Federal Appeals Court's Decision Means for Blagojevich

A federal appeals court overturned five of 18 counts against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich Tuesday

A federal appeals court's decision to overturn five convictions against Rod Blagojevich Tuesday may be good news for the former governor, but it is far from a victory. 

The decision is only a glacial piece of progress for Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year sentence at a federal prison in Colorado. Although he may receive a new sentence, he will remain in custody for now.

The counts reversed include only those that deal with Blagojevich's negotiations for a cabinet job in exchange for appointing Valerie Jarrett to Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat. In other areas, the court was scathing in its assessment of the former governor's behavior.

"Blagojevich viewed the opportunity to appoint a new Senator as a bonanza," the court wrote. Furthermore, "Blagojevich asks us to hold that the evidence is insufficient to convict him on any count. The argument is frivolous. The evidence, much of it from Blagojevich's own mouth, is overwhelming."

The former governor has long argued that his real plan was an honorable one to help the people of Illinois. The court rejected that argument out of hand, suggesting Blagojevich was trying one legal gambit at the same time he was doing something improper.

The court ruled that Blagojevich should be resentenced but also remain in prison while that happens.

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"It is not possible to call 168 months unlawfully high for Blagojevich's crimes, but the district judge should consider on remand whether it is the most appropriate sentence," they wrote.

It is now up to the U.S. Attorneys to decide if they want to retry Blagojevich on those five counts, which seems unlikely. For now, they will only say they are reviewing the decision.

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