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Judge refuses to nullify Blagojevich conviction

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October 27, 2010 12:20 PM EST | AP


CHICAGO — A judge in Chicago has denied a motion to nullify the sole conviction of Rod Blagojevich returned by a jury at the ousted Illinois governor's first corruption trial.

In a two-page opinion filed Wednesday, U.S. District Judge James Zagel rejects defense claims that prosecutorial misconduct contributed to the guilty verdict against Blagojevich on the charge of lying to the FBI.

The judge says defense attorneys often blame the prosecutors' conduct when they are struggling to challenge a conviction based on law or fact.

Jurors convicted the ex-governor on one of 24 counts in August. He is set to be retried on the 23 deadlocked charges in April.

Blagojevich faces up to five years in prison for the sole conviction. He denies any wrongdoing.