Corruption retrial of former Illinois Guv Blagojevich begins
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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 03, 2011, 13:56
Chicago: The corruption retrial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is accused of trying to sell US President Barack Obama's vacated US Senate seat began here on Tuesday at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

The jury consisted of 15 women and 3 men including 3 African American women and 1 Hispanic man.

Judge James Zagel swore the jury and explained to them the difference between circumstantial and direct evidence and the required code of conduct.

The prosecution's opening arguments was presented by US Attorney Christopher Niewoehner who stated that Blagojevich, 54, had committed five crimes.

Niewoehner said Blagojevich did all these crimes during a time when his family income was down and his debt had increased 100 per cent.

Defense attorney Aaron Goldstein repeatedly said that Blagojevich had received "nothing" from his deals and plans and alleged than many of Blagojevich's friends had betrayed him in exchange for immunity and plea deals with the government.

Wiretaps caught by FBI portrayed Blagojevich saying, 'Obama's vacancy as "(expletive) golden" and something that he wouldn't give up for "(expletive) nothing."

Tomorrow, FBI Agent Daniel Cains will be the first witness to take the stand.

Goldstein also did not mentioned whether Blagojevich will testify at the retrial.

In April, about 30 doctors and 10 employees of Raghuveer Nayak, an Indian-American Chicago businessman were subpoenaed.

Nayak owns at least a dozen ambulatory surgical centres in Illinois and Indiana and is alleged to have made improper payments to doctors to perform surgery at his centres.

The investigation will try to find out the link between Blagojevich, Nayak, a longtime friend of the Jackson family, and his friend Rajinder Bedi, a Blagojevich aide, who tried to sell the empty seat of then president-elect Barack Obama to Senator Jesse Jackson Jr, in exchange for a USD 6 million fundraiser.


First Published: Tuesday, May 03, 2011, 13:56

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