(CBS) — It’s a long shot, but for the second time in less than two years, attorneys for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich are asking the nation’s highest court to review the grounds for his corruption conviction.
Blagojevich attorney Leonard Goodman says, in a statement accompanying his request, that fund-raising is something every politician has to do, unless he or she is a billionaire.
Yet the petition to the U.S. Supreme Court says there has never been a clear distinction drawn between everyday, legal campaign fund-raising and bribery.
He relies on the so-called McCormick case, which found that a politician must make an explicit promise to a donor to take an official act in exchange for campaign money. Another case, Evans vs. the U.S., allows conviction on an implied promise of an official act.
Blagojevich’s attorney also says the 14-year sentence his client received is overly harsh.
Blagojevich was convicted of attempting to take money in exchange for the U.S. Senate seat vacated in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected president. Prosecutors also said that Blagojevich sought appointment to a cabinet post in the Obama White House.
The high court takes fewer than 10 percent of the cases presented to it for consideration.
Currently Blagojevich is scheduled to finish his prison term in 2024.
He also has petitioned President Trump for a pardon. Blagojevich is no stranger to Mr. Trump, who “fired” him on his reality television show, “The Apprentice,” as he awaited trial on the federal corruption charges.
Action by the president or the Supreme Court represent his only avenues for an early release.