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Federal judge orders Blagojevich prosecutors to disclose evidence

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [JURIST report] on Wednesday ordered the release of a 91-page government proffer [text, PDF] outlining evidence in the government's case against former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich [JURIST news archive]. According to the proffer, Blagojevich and his staff engaged in several schemes [Chicago Sun-Times report] by which they hoped to personally gain from Blagojevich's role as governor. Specifically, prosecutors describe how Blagojevich tried to sell the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama, made appointments based on anticipated campaign contributions, and took kickbacks from a number of companies. The prosecution argues in the proffer that the evidence presented in the proffer is admissible in court against the former governor. The document was sought by several news organizations.

Last month, Blagojevich pleaded not guilty to eight amended corruption charges [JURIST reports]. Last year, Blagojevich pleaded not guilty to 16 felony counts [JURIST reports], including wire fraud, attempted extortion, racketeering conspiracy, extortion conspiracy, and making false statements. In January 2009, the Illinois State Senate voted unanimously [JURIST report] to convict Blagojevich of abuse of power and remove him from office. Blagojevich is the first Illinois governor to be impeached and removed from office. Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were initially arrested [JURIST report] in December 2008 on allegations that they had conspired to sell the Senate seat left vacant by Obama.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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