Rod Blagojevich Reindicted: Charges Do Not Rely On 'Honest Services' Statute
Rod Blagojevich was reindicted Thursday, as prosecutors try to keep an upcoming decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on "honest services" fraud from delaying his June trial, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Though Blago was indicted last April on 16 counts, the 24-count indictment handed up today by a federal grand jury will not rely on the "honest services" statute, the Tribune reports:
The revised indictment does not allege any new wrongdoing by Blagojevich but includes eight new counts that do not rely on honest services fraud.
Those counts include racketeering, attempted extortion, bribery, bribery conspiracy and extortion conspiracy, according to the indictment.
Blago's brother Robert Blagojevich was also named in the document, and charged with extortion conspiracy, attempted extortion and bribery conspiracy.
"This indictment is nothing more than warmed up old soup," Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky told NBC Chicago. "It's the same false charges realleged under different legal theories."
The Tribune explained the honest services aspect when talk of a re-indictment was brought up in December of 2009:
Honest services fraud criminalizes schemes that deprive the public or the government of the right to have public officials perform their duties honestly.
The honest services statute makes up a portion of a number of the charges against Blagojevich, alleging that he violated his official duties while illegally leveraging the powers of his office to benefit himself.
Since the Supreme Court ruling on that case could either have no effect on Blago or it could undermine the case against him--prosecutors handed down the new indictment.
Sheldon said Blagojevich is "outraged over this" and wants to tell his side of the story, NBC reports.