In Second Trial, Blago Can’t Beat the Rap

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TIME’s Dawn Reiss checks in from Chicago:

On Monday, June 27, the jury returned from 10 days of deliberation and everyone gathered to hear its decision. Blagojevich blew an air kiss to his weeping wife and then clasped his hands as courtroom deputy Donald Walker began reading the verdict. The first finding of guilt led Blagojevich to purse his lips. Patti pushed back into her brother’s arms. With each new pronouncement of guilt, the ex-governor grew more stonefaced even as his wife wept beneath closed eyes. When Walker was done reading, Blagojevich had been found guilty on 17 of the 20 counts against him, including 12 of the most explosive ones, among them wire fraud and conspiracy and attempted extortion stemming from when he tried to sell the Senate seat of then President-elect Barack Obama (As governor, it was Blagojevich’s prerogative to name a candidate to complete Obama’s uncompleted term). Later, as he held his wife’s hand, Blagojevich told the press, “Obviously I was really disappointed with the outcome, I was frankly stunned and there isn’t much else to say.” On most counts, he faces a maximum of 20-years each and $250,000 in fines. Judges are unlikely to impose maximum sentences, however. It is also not known if the prison terms will be served concurrently. The parties return to court on Aug. 1 to determine sentencing.