As some jurors in the Rod Blagojevich corruption trial express regret, federal prosecutors are already gearing up for a retrial.
On Tuesday, a jury found Blagojevich guilty on one count of lying to a federal agent--but were hung on the other 23 counts. While some saw the result as a victory for the defense, others saw it as delaying the inevitable.
"We're about to get ready for a retrial, and so we'll make no further comments," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said Tuesday. Fitzgerald was then slammed by Blagojevich and his attorneys.
Now that Blagojevich's $2.8 million campaign fund that was paying for his defense has depleted, the taxpayers will pick up the tab for a retrial.
"I wish this entire group would go upstairs and ask Mr. Fitzgerald one question," Adam Jr. told reporters in the lobby of the Dirksen courthouse. "Why are we spending $25 to $30 million on a retrial when you couldn't prove it the first time? . . . Is this worth it? And that's what I ask the people out there: Is this worth it?"
Well, is it?
In a Wednesday morning editorial, the Chicago Sun-Times writes "You bet" it is.
Whatever Rod Blagojevich takes from Tuesday's frustrating jury verdict in his public corruption trial -- guilty on one count, no decision on 23 more -- it should not be a sense of restored honor. As the evidence made clear, he threw that away long ago.
This is a governor who hid in a bathroom to avoid talking business with his budget director.
This is a governor who had to be hunted down at a bowling alley to sign important legislation.
Those who support retrying the ex-governor say it is a necessary step to bring real change to Chicago politics, but some Illinois residents don't want to pick up the tab.
"What's to be gained by retrying him?" Wayne "Ren" Sirles, 68, a southern Illinois orchard owner who voted for Blagojevich twice told the Associated Press. "If he was a violent criminal doing harm to other people or if he'd been found not guilty on all counts, that's a different story. But I just don't see paying the money prosecuting him further."
But the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board--along with most political watchdog groups--say that Illinois voters have become too comfortable with corruption. A guilty verdict would send a message to future politicians who are more interested in lining their pockets than serving the public.
". . . Only by prosecuting public corruption to the fullest extent of the law, retrials and all, can Illinois one day hope to arrive in that happy land of honest government," the Sun-Times writes.
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