Blagojevich Files Federal Appeal in Corruption Conviction

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Tuesday, 16 Jul 2013 12:46 PM

By Andrea Billups

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has appealed his federal conviction on charges of political corruption and influence peddling that sent him to prison for 14 years.

In his 91-page appeal, attorneys for Blagojevich cited a host of challenges as grounds for overturning his conviction. His appeal was filed with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just before midnight Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The appeal asserts that the judge in the case offered "one-sided evidentiary rulings" that favored prosecutors, saying the judge denied many recordings offered by the defense of Blagojevich at trial, but allowed prosecutors to play their own tapes as evidence.

The appeal also alleges a juror was biased and defense motions to strike the juror went unheeded.

Blagojevich, 56, has been housed since March 2012 in a low-security federal prison near Denver, far from his stomping grounds in the Windy City where he reveled in the attention of public life. He becomes eligible for release in 2024.

His case drew national attention over what was described as his efforts to sell the Senate seat formerly held by Barack Obama.

Blagojevich denied testimony at trial that he sought to obtain an ambassadorship from the president in exchange for his appointment of Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett to a seat in the Senate.

He described in undercover recordings played at trial as "I've got this thing and it's (expletive) golden."

His sentence was the second-longest handed down for in a federal court for a political corruption case, the Tribune reported. Prosecutors have until Aug. 14 to respond to the appeal, which could go on for months or years before it is heard.

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