CHICAGO -- Disgraced ex-governor Rod Blagojevich is taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court and in a bold move, a large group of current and former Illinois lawmakers have agreed to help him make his argument.
The list includes some high-profile names in congress such as Mike Quigley, Jan Schakowsky, Bobby Rush and Luis Gutierrez.
They said they are not taking a stand on the ex-governor’s guilt or innocence. What they are doing is asking the country’s highest court to clear the air around campaign finance law.
“We need clarity. We are not making a judgement..innocent, guilty or passing judgement.. We do believe that there should be clarity," Gutierrez said.
Blagojevich, serving the longest sentence imposed on an Illinois politician for corruption, maintains he did nothing wrong and that no official acts were exchanged for campaign cash. Prosecutors said he was stopped just short of that."
The amicus brief said blurry lines between legal and illegal fundraising leave politicians vulnerable.
“Although amici take no position on Mr. Blagojevich’s innocence or guilt on any of the counts of conviction, they submit that this court’s guidance is needed to distinguish the lawful solicitation and donation of campaign contributions from criminal violations of federal bribery, extortion and fraud laws,” the document said.
“This isn’t a plea for a pardon. This is, I think, a demand that the court clarify what constitutes a bribe, extortion and what constitutes doing something for a constituent or somebody that asks you to do something,” Gutierrez said.
Blagojevich has now served more than five years of his 14-year sentence for soliciting bribes for political appointments.
The Supreme Court has given prosecutors until January 3 to respond to his appeal.