Two trials, a 14 year sentence and already almost two years behind bars but on Friday, attorneys for ex-governor Rod Blagojevich will stand before a three judge panel to see if they can convince the justices to either reverse his conviction, give the inmate a retrial or at least reduce his sentence.
The crux of the argument comes down to audio tapes. Endless hours of audio taped conversations capture the then governor, a jury found, trying to sell the senate seat for something in return for himself. His defense attorneys say if all the relevant tapes had been played, Blagojevich would not have been convicted. They also say the judge didn’t allow the defendant back in 2011 to testify to things on the stand that he had been promised he could. They also claim some jury instructions were bad.
Each party will get 30 minutes before the 7th Circuit Court of appeals and they will be peppered with questions throughout the hearing.
Justices have been briefed and have read the filings. Tomorrow is their chance to hear how lawyers defend their positions.
Rod Blagojevich will not be present. He remains at a Colorado federal prison, but his wife Patti will be there.
Blagojevich’s brother Rob, once a co-defendant in the same case, says while he has little faith in the justice system, he hopes his brother gets a fair hearing and at the very least a reduced sentence.
Oral arguments begin at 9:30am at the Dirksen Federal Building.