CHICAGO — A jury on Monday convicted Rod R. Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, of a broad pattern of corruption, including charges that he tried to personally benefit from his role in selecting a replacement for President Obama in the United States Senate.
Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat who former aides say once envisioned himself as a future presidential contender, was found guilty of most of the 20 federal counts against him: 17 counts of wire fraud, attempted extortion, soliciting bribes, conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to solicit and accept bribes.
As the verdicts were read aloud in court, one “guilty” following another, Mr. Blagojevich, who has always proclaimed his innocence, turned, his jaw clenched grimly, to look at his wife, Patti, in the front row. By then, she was already slumped back in the arms of a relative, eyes closed, wiping away tears.
The verdict appeared to be the conclusion, at last, to the spectacle of Mr. Blagojevich’s political career, which began its spiraling descent shortly after Mr. Obama was elected president in November 2008. A month after Election Day, Mr. Blagojevich, who was in his second term as governor and under state law was required to name a senator to replace Mr. Obama, was arrested, and federal agents revealed that they had secretly recorded hundreds of hours of damaging phone calls by him and his advisers.
Mr. Blagojevich, a lawyer and former state and federal lawmaker, was accused of trying to secure campaign contributions, a cabinet post or a high-paying job in exchange for his official acts as governor — whether that was picking a senator, supporting particular legislation or deciding how to spend state money. Mr. Blagojevich was acquitted on one charge of bribery, and the jury deadlocked on two counts of attempted extortion, but convictions came on the bulk of the counts and on those related to the Senate seat — the claims that had drawn... [continues]
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