CHICAGO (CBS) — A federal appeals court has thrown out some of the convictions against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and tossed out his 14-year prison sentence.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling Tuesday, throwing out five of the 18 convictions on corruption charges Blagojevich had faced. Eleven were tied to allegations he tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s Senate seat.
Although the ruling ordered a new trial on those five charges, it also said if prosecutors elect to drop those charges, a new trial is not needed, and the district court should proceed directly to a new sentencing. A new sentencing would not necessarily mean Blagojevich’s sentence would be reduced.
At a press conference outside the former governor’s home, BLagojevich’s attorney Leonard Goodman hadn’t yet spoken with Blagojevich about his next steps.
“The evidence that would have acquitted him was excluded at trial and my advice to the governor is that he should fight on,”Goodman said.
Patti Blagojevich said the family was disappointed that the ruling didn’t go far enough.
“The only thing good that I can say today is that possibly this is a step in the right direction of getting Rod home to his family,” she said.
Patti said she had spoken with Rod about the decision and that he was disappointed but optimistic.
Blagojevich, 58, has been in prison in near Denver since March 2012, but the appeals court said he is not entitled to be released from custody pending further proceedings, likely because it upheld convictions on 13 other counts, and he will still likely face a long prison sentence on those charges.
The judges vacated Blagojevich’s convictions on five charges that he tried to swap an appointment of Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to the president’s former Senate seat in exchange for any of a number of benefits for Blagojevich — from an appointment to Obama’s cabinet, to a high-paying private sector job, to setting up a well-funded non-profit that Blagojevich could oversee.