Blagojevich Wants To Play New Tapes At Sentencing

CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is asking to play wiretap recordings that were previously placed under seal when he’s sentenced next month.

Blagojevich’s attorneys have requested that U.S. District Judge James Zagel allow them to play recorded conversations that were not heard at the former governor’s trial, in an effort to gain a more lenient sentence.

The defense said they were blocked from playing those tapes at trial, largely because the judge found them to be immaterial or irrelevant to the case.

But the defense argues they are critical to determining a fair sentence for Blagojevich, claiming they “show Mr. Blagojevich’s state of mind and lack of ill intent.”

Defense attorneys listed 180 separate tapes in an attachment to their motion, although several tapes on the list were played at trial.

Defense attorneys said that they do not want to play any wiretap recordings in their entirety, only brief portions of the tapes.

“The portions of conversations which the defense seeks to include in its sentencing filing and at the hearing are critical to the defense argument and to the protection of Mr. Blagojevich’s constitutional rights,” the defense wrote.

Blagojevich was convicted of 17 corruption counts at his retrial this summer, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat. At his first trial last year, jurors were deadlocked on all but one count, a conviction for lying to the FBI.

The former governor is set to be sentenced on Dec. 6. He plans to speak in his own defense and defense attorneys have said the sentencing hearing could take two days.

Earlier this week, Blagojevich’s top fundraiser, Antoin “Tony” Rezko, was sentenced to 10 ½ years in prison for a shakedown scheme tied to the former governor. Rezko was convicted three years ago of fraud and money laundering and scheming to squeeze millions of dollars in kickbacks from companies that were seeking state business while Blagojevich was governor.

Prosecutors are expected to seek an even stiffer sentence for Blagojevich.

The wiretap recordings of Blagojevich’s conversations were a central part of the case against him.

Defense attorneys have asked repeatedly to unseal a number of tapes that they claimed would prove Blagojevich’s innocence, but Zagel has ruled that most of the tapes the defense wanted to play were irrelevant, because Blagojevich could better testify to his own state of mind.

The defense has also argued the tapes would prove that Blagojevich was trying to appoint Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to President Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat in order to get her father, House Speaker Mike Madigan, to pass the governor’s legislative agenda.

But Zagel has scoffed at those claims, calling them a “red herring,” saying that it was clear from the evidence that no deal could have been struck with Madigan because no one ever approached either the speaker or the attorney general about it.

  • I've Got This Thing.........

    This guy just won’t quit. Does he really believe people might change their minds? This guy is the most obviously guilty politician in the history of political corruption. The smartest thing this idiot could have done, was to plead guilty, express extreme remorse, and beg for the public’s forgiveness. Instead he beams with arrogance and thinks people will forget about the audio evidence against him. He deserves whatever he gets!!!

    • Judge Roy Bean

      HA HA …only tape I want to hear is blogo getting raped in the shower, or Fatti Patti’s new pimp tell’n her he needs more $$$

  • eddie

    put this clown monkey in a cage already…..

  • enough alreasy

    Rod, the buzzer has over!

  • Mike

    Dude, take it like a man. You had your time, now it’s time, to do your time.

  • Diane Horning

    The trial is over. Just take your punishment like a man.

  • Dibbs!

    Who’s going to service Patty for the next 20-40 years?

  • Steve

    Ok as much as i feel bad for Rod and understand by maybe he did do some bad things, i believe all the tapes should have been played. “Zagel has ruled that most of the tapes the defense wanted to play were irrelevant”, but the man is on trial for his life everythig should be heard. if i was on trial i dont care how irrelavant things were i want u to here everything because there may be stuff to show i was not that bad.

    • Bring it

      I agree…… Unless they are trying to hide further corruption……. I wonder.

    • Jim Hamilton

      I personally can’t stand Blago but I do agree with Steve here. When a mans entire worth is at stake then leave no stone over turned and if the recordings are irrelevent why were they made let the jurors decide whats irrelevent for them.

  • Jim Hamilton

    I say play the entire recordings are they trying to protect someone else by not allowing them?

    • I've Got This Thing.........

      No, Blago and his attorneys were trying to bury the jury in so much material, that it would have been more difficult to retain important facts as well as lengthening the whole proceeding in an effort to wear down jurors. Of course the judge saw right through that tactic and only allowed relevant information into the trial.

      • Jim Hamilton

        Nope play it all or none thats how things get covered up even by judges

  • Lyndia

    I agree with Jim and Steve. All the tapes should have been played. I believe that it would have exposed the greed of the other politicans that were involved. I also believe that the former governor should not have been convicted by himself. Jesse Jr., Valarie Jarret and who knows who else was looking at the Senate seat and they would have done ANYTHING TO GET IT. ANYTHING!!!

    • Jim Hamilton

      Lyndia thats so very true

  • george

    i have made this offer before, and will make it one more time: give me all the money this guy has taken (tax free, as he got it) and i will do his time for him….

  • kulin

    This man wont stop can sombody put him jn the jail NOW please
    Im tired of his face

    • Jim Hamilton

      I bet jackson, Obama and a lot of the Dems feel the same way you do and it’s not about justice. it’s about shutting him up before the rest of them get exposed.

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