Lawyers for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich [personal website; JURIST news archive] filed notice Tuesday that they will appeal his conviction and 14-year sentence on corruption charges. Judge James Zagel of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] handed down the sentence [JURIST report] earlier this month after Blagojevich made a public apology in court. Blagojevich was scheduled to be sentenced on October 6 after he was convicted in June on 18 counts of corruption, but the sentencing hearing was delayed [JURIST reports] until this week. Blagojevich is currently scheduled to report to prison March 15.
Blagojevich was previously found guilty [JURIST report] last year of making false statements to the FBI, but the jury remained deadlocked on 23 additional charges. The prosecutors dropped some of the charges [JURIST report] to simplify the case for retrial, including charges for racketeering. In January 2009, the Illinois State Senate voted unanimously [JURIST report] to convict Blagojevich of abuse of power and remove him from office. Blagojevich and his former chief of staff John Harris were initially arrested [JURIST report] in December 2008 on corruption charges, including allegations that they conspired to sell the Senate seat left vacant by US President Barack Obama.