Rod Blagojevich, ‘Bumbling Crook,’ Gets Off With Only One Conviction

Rod Blagojevich, ‘Bumbling Crook,’ Gets Off With Only One Conviction

Rod Blagojevich, ‘Bumbling Crook,’ Gets Off With Only One Conviction

Rod Blagojevich’s trial verdict showed that the line between criminal corruption and the base line corruption continues to blur.


After 14 days of deliberation, a jury of 6 men and 6 women found Rod Blagojevich guilty Tuesday night on only one count out of the 24 counts brought against the former governor. Blagojevich was found guilty of lying to federal agents and the judge has declared a mistrial in the other 23 charges. Prosecutors say they will retry Blagojevich for the more serious charges, including the charge that he tried to sell President Obama’s old Senate seat for a new job or campaign money.

While guest hosting The Rachel Maddow Show, Nation Washington editor, Chris Hayes, says “This is a shocking conclusion for a case that everybody seemed to believe, back in the day, was cut and dry,” Hayes says. “Everybody just knew he was guilty.” Blagojevich never took the stand in his own defense because “he was the person most roundly convicted in court of public opinion before his trial since O.J. Simpson," Hayes says. He wasn’t just presumed guilty, “he was a laughing stock, a symbol of everything that is wrong in American politics.”

Andy Shaw, executive director of the Better Government Association (and Hayes’s father-in-law) explains that there was a disconnect in this trial, which accounts for its result. “There was no smoking gun,” Shaw says. “He did not make the final calls for the quid pro quo. None of his transgressions actually resulted in a favorable outcome…He was essentially a bumbling crook.”

-Melanie Breault

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