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Jury set to begin deliberations in retrial of ex-governor Blagojevich

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Blagojevich case goes to jury
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Federal jury in Chicago receives case for deliberations
  • The ex-governor, accused of trying to sell Obama's old Senate seat, faces 20 charges
  • Last August, a jury couldn't agree on 23 of 24 charges then filed against Blagojevich
  • Blagojevich remained in the spotlight, including appearing on reality TV

Read local coverage of retrial at CNN affiliate WLS.

Chicago (CNN) -- Federal jurors at the retrial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will begin deliberations Friday in the corruption case against him.

Charges against Blagojevich include trying to peddle the U.S. Senate seat that belonged to Barack Obama before he resigned to become president.

Blagojevich has denied any intention of bribery.

The jury will weigh the ex-governor's guilt or innocence on 20 public-corruption-related counts.

Jurors will try to do something that others convened last year could not do: reach a decision on all of the charges.

2010: Rod Blagojevich in the spotlight
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In August 2010, after a two-month trial and 14 days of deliberation, jurors deadlocked on 23 of the 24 charges Blagojevich had faced. They found him guilty on one count of lying to FBI investigators -- a conviction that could carry a prison sentence of five years.

Likewise, no decision was reached on the fate of the ex-governor's brother, Robert Blagojevich, who had been charged with one count of wire fraud, one count of extortion conspiracy, one count of attempted extortion and one count of bribery conspiracy in connection with his brother's alleged Senate-seat-selling plan.

CNN affiliate WLS: Blagojevich tears up

But just over a week after that trial ended, prosecutors dropped the charges against Robert Blagojevich. The office of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald decided to press forward again with their case against Rod Blagojevich, including trying to get a jury to decide that the former governor had tried to profit by peddling his influence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Hamilton, in her closing arguments Thursday, recapped for the jury the various corruption charges against Rod Blagojevich.

"The people are entitled to honest government," she said, according to CNN Chicago affiliate WLS.

The defense used a theme that Blagojevich just likes to talk and that he ended up with nothing. Attorney Aaron Goldstein said the "law is about intent," WLS reported. Goldstein said the prosecution hadn't met its burden of proof.

The accusation that Blagojevich tried to profit as he considered whom to appoint to succeed Obama, among other allegations, prompted his impeachment by Illinois' House of Representatives and his removal from office by the state Senate in 2009.

While he lost his job and faced a tough legal fight, Blagojevich did not shrink from the spotlight. While awaiting trial, the ousted governor repeatedly asserted his innocence in interviews and on Twitter, as well as during appearances on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" reality show.

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