Where the line is drawn between politics and corruption may be what gets former Gov. Rod Blagojevich out of prison.
Judges heard an hour of oral arguments from both sides in federal appeals court in Chicago today (Friday). Attorneys for Blagojevich have argued that he wasn’t breaking the law when he tried to trade a U.S. Senate seat for a position in President Obama’s cabinet.
Judge Frank Easterbrook Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Bonamici if any other politician has been imprisoned for trying to trade jobs. “If you appoint me or my friend, I’ll appoint you or your friend. Is there any criminal conviction in U.S. history that rests on that kind of proposal?” Easterbrook asked.
“I’m aware of none, your honor,” Bonamici said.
Easterbrook wasn’t easy on Blagojevich’s side, twice demanding clearer answers from attorney Len Goodman. After the hearing, Goodman declined to predict whether the judges would move to overturn the convictions or reduce Blagojevich’s sentence.
“I can’t predict,” Goodman said. “Our position is the trial was fundamentally unfair, all the counts have to go.”
Blagojevich himself was not present at the hearing. His wife Patti was in attendance, and later said she hoped her husband can return home soon.
A ruling is not expected for several weeks.