Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blagojevich took his time to tell us the same ol’ tale – I’m innocent!

I understand the concept of using every bit of time available to ensure that something is of the highest quality possible.

BLAGOJEVICH: I didn't do it!
And when the potential outcome is regaining one’s freedom, I also comprehend that the stakes for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich with his latest criminal appeal are all important.

BUT I HAVE to confess. When I learned that Blagojevich’s attorneys were pushing the 12:01 a.m. Tuesday deadline before filing (and wound up filing the documents with about one hour to spare), I was hopeful that we’d get some new piece of information.

Something of significance that would actually have the potential to convince people that the conviction and 14-year prison sentence received by Blagojevich was seriously flawed.

Something that would enlighten us observers into having a better comprehension of this particular criminal case.

But it didn’t happen.

INSTEAD, WHAT WE got was something that bears a strong resemblance to so many other criminal appeals I have read throughout the quarter-century that I have been a reporter-type person.

Incompetence, combined with negligence, all meant to keep “the truth” from coming out and making us realize that Milorod didn’t do it!

Specifically, the 91-page appeal contends that U.S. District Judge James Zagel was too eager to favor the prosecution.

ZAGEL: Did he blow it?
The appeal continues to harp on all those tape recordings that Blagojevich thinks would have made him appear to be an innocent in the eyes of a jury. His appeal contends that the judge deliberately excluded the bulk of those 33 recordings – while permitting the use of 70 recordings by prosecutors that made Blagojevich look bad.

PERSONALLY, I’M INTRIGUED at the other issue Blagojevich’s attorneys brought up – claiming it is a flaw that Zagel did not provide jurors with a specific definition about how “campaign contributions” and “bribes” are different when it comes to “political deal-making.”

I suspect that there are people who would have interpreted any such definition as political double-talk, and might well have taken it as a negative that they were supposed to even consider such a distinction.

Although when one thinks about it, what is the difference between the two concepts?

Because one can argue that a campaign contribution is bribe-like in that it is money meant to gain some personal attention to oneself. Except that in a bribe, the promise of a “payback” is much more explicit. Sometimes, very specific.

WHEREAS WITH A contribution, it is more vague, and in theory may never be made. You could be giving your money to a political candidate and get nothing to show for it – except the knowledge that for a few seconds, the candidate thought of you as he cashed your check.

My point being that this issue may be so vague that it would be confusing to try to overly define these concepts. It may even offend some that they’re expected to acknowledge a difference.

I’m not convinced that any of this is going to sway anyone. I’m not convinced that the outcome will change one bit as a result of this appeal.

Largely because the arguments made in the appeal are the same ones we have heard all through the Blagojevich saga. If this is what the appeal was going to amount to, why couldn’t it have been filed long ago?

AS MUCH AS I think the length of Blagojevich’s prison term is too much (and yes, one possible outcome of this appeal is that the conviction is upheld but the sentence is reduced), I’m not sure if any Court of Appeals judges will be swayed.

Although in the end, it doesn’t matter what I (or any other would-be pundit) think. It’s just those few judges who will determine whether or not Zagel screwed up seriously-enough to warrant a chance in the Blagojevich verdict.


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