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Juror: One vote blocked Senate seat conviction in Blagojevich case

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Blagojevich blasts federal government
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Government prosecutors say they will try ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich again
  • Jurors find Blagojevich guilty of lying to the FBI
  • The jury says it was hung on the other 23 counts against him
  • The former Illinois governor was accused of attempting to sell U.S. Senate seat

Read more about the verdict from CNN affiliates WLS-TV and WGN-TV in Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) -- Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appeared vindicated after a jury in a federal corruption trial reportedly was one vote short of convicting him of attempting to sell a U.S. Senate seat.

Prosecutors said they will retry Blagojevich and will meet next week to decide their next move.

Blagojevich was found guilty Tuesday of lying to the FBI but escaped convictions on 23 other counts in a trial seen as a partial victory for the former governor.

The jury, which deliberated for 14 days, said it was hung on 23 counts against him and on the counts against the former governor's brother, Robert Blagojevich.

"What the jury decided today was that I didn't let the people of Illinois down," Blagojevich told reporters after the trial.

Video: Blagojevich jurors detail deliberation
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A crowd of supporters cheered as Blagojevich walked by, screaming, "We love you!" and shaking his hand.

The former governor faced charges 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 occupied by Barack Obama before he was elected president.

"There was no crime spree. There was no corruption. I've been lied about, you've been lied to," Blagojevich said.

Blagojevich did not mention his conviction for lying to the FBI.

Juror Erik Sarnello, 21, told CNN affiliate WLS-TV in Chicago the final vote on whether to convict the former governor of attempting to sell the seat was 11 in favor and one against.

"She obviously didn't see it," he said about the holdout. "Some things were so obvious to me."

The next court date is set for August 26, though prosecutors said they will try the case again.

"On every charge except for one, they could not prove that I did anything wrong,"a defiant Rod Blagojevich said shortly after the jury was dismissed. "I told the truth from the very beginning."

He was convicted of having told FBI investigators he had tried to maintain a "firewall" between government and politics while he was governor -- a statement jurors found to be false.

The former governor added he would appeal the one conviction and thanked members of the jury.

The maximum penalty for making false statements is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Conviction on the counts of wire fraud, racketeering and attempted extortion would have carried a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, while a conviction on the count of solicitation of bribery would have had a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

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

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

"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 and stood trial on four charges. He said the governor "was interested in the idea of being the head of Health and Human Services."

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

When asked whether he is concerned about plans for another trial, Blagojevich hinted to reporters that he had much more to say.

"I've said all along I'm looking forward to getting the truth out," he said. "There's a lot more of the truth that needs to come out. And this process will give us a chance to do that."

CNN's Katherine Wojtecki contributed to this report.

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