Published August 17, 2010
That was all it took to keep a jury from convicting former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of trying to sell the Senate seat formerly held by President Obama, according to another juror in Blagojevich's federal corruption trial.
Instead, Blagojevich was found guilty Tuesday of just one lesser count of lying to federal agents, as jurors deadlocked on the 23 other counts against him, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial on those charges.
Blagojevich showed no emotion as the verdict was read, neither smiling nor grimacing. But afterward, he cast the outcome as a victory and vowed to appeal the one guilty verdict.
"I want the people of Illinois to know I did not lie to the FBI," Blagojevich told reporters. "I told the truth from the very beginning. This is a persecution."
After Judge James B. Zagel said he plans to call a mistrial on the remaining counts, federal prosecutors said they would retry Blagojevich "as quickly as possible."
Zagel set a hearing for Aug. 26 to decide the manner and timing of the retrial. He also said Blagojevich's bond will stay the same.
News broke later Tuesday that there was just one holdout juror blocking a conviction on the charge of trying to sell the Senate seat. The jury deadlocked 11-1 on that charge, according to another juror, Erik Sarnello of Itasca, Ill.
Sarnello, 21, said the holdout, a woman, "just didn't see what we all saw." He said the counts around the Senate seat were "the most obvious."
Blagojevich faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for lying to agents investigating the corruption allegations. Jurors unanimously agreed that Blagojevich provided two false statements -- one in which he said he tried to maintain a firewall between politics and government, the other in which he said he does not track or want to know who contributes to him or how much they are contributing to him.
Robert Blagojevich, who faced four charges in the case -- the jury deadlocked on all four -- said he felt bad for his brother. But he said he wasn't sure whether he could afford to endure another trial.
"I have lived through the most surreal experience anyone could live through," he told reporters. "I have felt like this has been a slow bleed from the beginning, both financially, emotionally, and otherwise. But I can tell you I feel strong, I feel confident and I don't feel in any way deterred in my ability to articulate my innocence."
Jurors deliberated for 14 days, sending four notes with questions that gave early indication that that they could not reach consensus on all counts.
"Say a prayer for us," Rod Blagojevich said as he walked into the courtroom Tuesday holding wife Patti's hand.
Before jurors came in, a somber-looking Blagojevich sat with his hands folded, looking down, picking nervously at his fingernails. After the verdict was read, defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. rubbed his own forehead and mouth, appearing to shake his head in disgust.
Patti Blagojevich showed more emotion throughout. Right after the verdict was read, she leaned over in her chair, shaking her head.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.