Prosecutors respond to Blagojevich appeal - Fox 2 News Headlines

Prosecutors respond to Blagojevich appeal

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CHICAGO (Associated Press) -

Prosecutors have responded to Rod Blagojevich's appeal of his corruption conviction, challenging the notion that the behavior that landed the former Illinois governor behind bars was run-of-the-mill political horse-trading.

They rebutted that and other claims in an unusually lengthy, 169-page filing before a midnight deadline Tuesday. It's a reply to the Democrat's July appeal with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

PDF: Prosecutors respond to Rod Blagojevich appeal

Jurors convicted Blagojevich on 18 counts, including for trying to profit from his power to name someone to the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated to become president. Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison term in Colorado.

In their 100-page appeal, defense attorneys claim Blagojevich engaged in a legal "political horse-trade" when he floated the idea of a Cabinet seat or ambassadorship for himself if he appointed Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett to the seat. Neither Obama nor Jarrett have ever been accused of any wrongdoing in the case.

In their response, prosecutors balked at the idea that what Blagojevich did was commonplace.

"This is an extraordinary claim," the government filing says. "No matter the price he charges, a public official who sells his office engages in crime, not politics."

Blagojevich's appeal seeks a new trial or at least a reduction in what his attorneys describe as an excessive, disproportionate sentence. They allege a litany of errors and a lack of evenhandedness by the trial judge.

Now into his second year as Inmate No. 40892-424 in Colorado, Blagojevich could learn the fate of his appeal soon. A three-judge panel is expected to schedule oral arguments and then issue a ruling within months.

After the then-governor's Dec. 9, 2008, arrest, Blagojevich hit the talk show circuit to declare his innocence and to rail against prosecutors. He even appeared on Donald Trump's reality show, "The Apprentice."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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