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United States v. Blagojevich

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
612 F.3d 558 (4th Cir. 2015), 794 F.3d 729 (2015)


Facts

The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (defendant) for extortion under color of official right, in violation of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(b)(2). The trial evidence established that then-Senator Barack Obama's 2008 election as President opened a United States Senate seat that Blagojevich, as governor, was empowered to fill. Blagojevich offered to appoint Valerie Jarrett, Obama's presumed choice, to the position. In return, Blagojevich asked for a Cabinet appointment. Blagojevich was the target of a federal investigation into various crimes, including blatant acts of extortion unrelated to the Jarrett appointment. The investigation led to Blagojevich's arrest, impeachment, and removal from office. The jury convicted Blagojevich on all counts of extortion, and he appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The court quickly dismissed the appeal on all counts except those relating to the proposed swap of Jarrett's Senatorial appointment in return for a Cabinet job.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Easterbrook, J.)

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