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Supreme Court declines to hear Blagojevich's appeal of corruption convictions

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday declined to hear [order list, PDF] an appeal from former Illinois governor Rob Blagojevich. In 2013 Blagojevich was found guilty on 18 charges of corruption in his second trial and ultimately sentenced to a 14-year prison term [JURIST report]. A federal appeals court threw out five of his 18 convictions in 2015. Blagojevich's attorneys argued [NPR report] that "the line between legal and illegal trading of political favors has become blurred, potentially leaving politicians everywhere subject to prosecution." The court left in place [Reuters report] last July's ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuitupholding the majority of Blagojevich's convictions, for which he began serving the 14-year prison sentence in 2012.

The Seventh Circuit refused to rehear Governor Rod Blagojevich's corruption case. In 2013 Blagojevich filed an appeal [text, PDF] with the Seventh Circuit challenging his conviction and sentencing. Lawyers first filed notice of appeal [JURIST report] in June 2011. Blagojevich was initially found guilty [JURIST report] in 2010 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.

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