Rod Blagojevich was “likeable” but clearly guilty for trying to sell President Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, jurors said yesterday after convicting the former Illinois governor on 17 of 20 federal charges.
“The evidence was overwhelming, really,” Jessica Hubinek, 32, told the Chicago Tribune. “When you have somebody recorded on a telephone saying something completely incriminating, it’s hard to deny a guilty verdict.”
The jury of 11 women and one man convicted Blagojevich Monday after a two-month trial. The brash former governor declared himself “stunned” in a brief statement after the verdict.
Maribel DeLeon, who lost her marketing job before the trial, told the Chicago Sun-Times she had hoped to acquit Blagojevich but the evidence was overwhelming.
“I mean, he proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was guilty,” she told the paper. “It was very difficult. I really tried to just find everything I could to make him not guilty, but I mean — it was — the proof was there.”
The jury forewoman, retired suburban church music director Connie Wilson, told a press conference the verdict “sends a message.”
Karin Wilson, a 48-year-old teacher from the Chicago suburbs, told the paper she found Blagojevich “genuinely likeable” but indirect.
“I did really feel that his testimony at times was really manipulative, which I didn’t appreciate,” she told the Tribune. “I wanted to hear the facts. I didn’t want to have my emotions played.”
Wilson said it was clear Blagojevich intended to sell the Senate seat.
“It wasn’t just one attempt,” she said. “It was attempt after attempt after attempt that was made. I think we all thought that was the easiest one (to decide upon) because there was just an abundance of material for us to look at to find him guilty on that.”
One juror, Aimee Spelich from Peru, Ill., traveled 100 miles each way every day for the two months of trial and and jury deliberations, the Tribune wrote.
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