Blagojevich faces new ethics complaint amid Trump's talk of possible clemency
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in his 2008 mugshot. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
President Donald Trump has suggested that he might commute Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence for political corruption, but that wouldn’t put an end to all the former Illinois governor’s legal troubles.
Illinois legal ethics regulators filed a new ethics complaint against Blagojevich on Aug. 1 that cites his federal conviction, the Legal Profession Blog reports. The complaint doesn’t specify whether disbarment or some lesser sanction is sought.
Blagojevich’s law license was suspended on an interim basis in 2011 after jurors convicted him of corruption charges that included an allegation that he tried to sell the former U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. Ethics charges were put on hold during the appeals process, according to the Legal Profession Blog.
A federal appeals court tossed counts related to sale of the Senate seat in July 2015 but upheld convictions on 13 counts. At his resentencing, Blagojevich receive the same 14-year sentence he had received before.
Blagojevich’s appeals ended when the U.S. Supreme Court denied cert in his latest appeal in April 2018.
Trump had told reporters last week that he was “very strongly” considering commuting Blagojevich’s sentence, the Chicago Tribune reports. On Thursday, Trump tweeted that many people had asked him to consider commutation, and “White House staff is continuing the review of this matter.”
The Rev. Jesse Jackson signed a letter last month asking Trump to grant Blagojevich a full pardon, according to the Tribune. Also signing the letter was Jackson’s son, Jesse Jackson Jr., who had sought the Senate seat that Blagojevich was accused of trying to sell. The younger Jackson, a former Illinois congressman, pleaded guilty in 2013 to to conspiring to divert a quarter-million dollars in campaign funds for personal use.
Rod Blagojevich, the former Governor of Illinois, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He has served 7 years. Many people have asked that I study the possibility of commuting his sentence in that it was a very severe one. White House staff is continuing the review of this matter.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2019