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Blagojevich jury deadlocked on some counts

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Waiting on the Blagojevich verdict
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jury in Rod Blagojevich case having difficulty reaching verdict
  • Judge James Zagel tells jury returning verdict on only some counts is permissible
  • Former Illinois governor is accused of racketeering, attempted bribery
  • His brother Robert Blagojevich is on trial, too
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(CNN) -- A federal jury weighing the fate of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich in his corruption trial telegraphed Wednesday it may be deadlocked on some counts of the indictment.

"In a situation where all the jurors cannot agree on all counts what should the next step be? We must now ask for guidance?" the jury asked U.S. District Judge James Zagel.

The judge responded, "It is permissible for a jury to return a verdict on some counts and not all counts" and told it to continue deliberations.

Blagojevich faces 24 counts, including racketeering, wire fraud, attempted extortion and bribery. The two-term Democrat was removed from office in January 2009 amid accusations that he attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat that had been occupied by Barack Obama before he became president.

In one conversation recorded by federal agents, he told an aide, "I've got this thing, and it's [expletive] golden. I'm just not giving it up for [expletive] nothing."

Conviction on the count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud would carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while a conviction on the count of solicitation of bribery would carry a maximum sentence of 10 years.

The former governor's brother, Robert Blagojevich, testified last week that the governor was "trying to politically work something to his benefit" in handling the appointment but was thinking in terms of political horse-trading, not corruption.

"It didn't seem out of the ordinary, because Obama was taking a lot of people from Illinois with him to D.C.," said Robert Blagojevich, who raised money for his brother. He said the governor "was interested in the idea of being the head of Health and Human Services."

Robert Blagojevich is charged with wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, attempted extortion and bribery conspiracy and is on trial with his brother.

While awaiting trial, the ousted governor asserted his innocence in interviews and on Twitter, as well as during his appearances on the "Celebrity Apprentice" reality show.

CNN's Katherine Wojtecki contributed to this article.

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