Search Our Website:
Stuart P. Slotnick, managing shareholder of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney's New York office and vice chair of the firm's Business Litigation and Trial Practice group, was quoted in two articles reporting on the one out of 24 possible convictions against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Slotnick weighed in on the ruling in both the August 17, 2010, edition The Christian Science Monitor, as well as the August 18 edition of The Washington Times.

As explained in The Christian Science Monitor article, "Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was found guilty Tuesday (August 17) on just one of the 24 counts he faced in his federal corruption trial over allegations he attempted to swap official acts as governor for money. … After deliberating 14 days, the jury convicted Mr. Blagojevich of lying to the FBI in a verdict that could send him to jail for up to 5 years. … The jury was deadlocked on the remaining 23 counts — including bribery, fraud, conspiracy, and racketeering — and could not reach a verdict on charges against Robert Blagojevich, the impeached governor's brother."

The article went on to report that "US District Judge James Zagel declared a mistrial regarding the deadlocked counts and said federal prosecutors have until Aug. 26 to decide whether to retry the case before a different jury. Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that they will seek another trial. … Outside the courtroom, Blagojevich reaffirmed his innocence to reporters and called the single count he was found guilty on 'nebulous.'"

"The government threw everything but the kitchen sink at me … I did not lie to the FBI. I told the truth from the very beginning," Blagojevich said. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald "wasted and wanted to spend tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money," he said.

According to the article, "Blagojevich was found guilty of telling federal agents he has 'tried to maintain a firewall between politics and government' and that he 'does not track, or want to know, who contributes to him or how much they are contributing to him.'"

Slotnick said the count of lying to the FBI is typically used to safeguard a guilty verdict in cases like this one, which may involve other charges a jury may consider too complex to sort out.

"He really wasn't convicted on any of the core counts. [Lying to the FBI] was almost an ancillary count," Slotnick said. He went on to explain that the nature of Tuesday's verdict on the least substantive charge, however, has the possibility of emboldening Blagojevich to declare his innocence and press for a second trial.

One day later, Slotnick was quoted further on the case in The Washington Times.

"If something appears to be a slam dunk case in the media, it is not necessarily a slam dunk case in reality," Slotnick said. "This slam dunk case didn't seem to be a slam dunk case to the jury."