Whatever the details of the sentencing, Blagojevich faces a lifetime of figuring out whether his testimony in his second trial, which ran for seven days and allowed the former governor to tap his expert campaign skills, helped or hindered the jury’s decision.
Speaking to the media after the trial, some jurors agreed that they found Blagojevich genuinely likable. But, they said, they sensed that his string of comic asides and long-winded explanations were part of a strategy to show he was nothing more than an aloof talker who had no intention of carrying out the schemes he is heard discussing on FBI wiretap recordings.
“I did really feel that his testimony at times was really manipulative, which I didn’t appreciate. I wanted to hear the facts. I didn’t want to have my emotions played,” said Karin Wilson.
Ms. Wilson also said the jury, consisting of 11 women and one man, could not help but consider how their decision would affect Blagojevich’s two children. The conversation, however, was inevitably followed by a sense that their responsibility was limited to the charges, and that Blagojevich was ultimately responsible for how his actions affected his family.
“We live in a world of right and wrong. When you make good decisions, good things happen to you. And when you make bad decisions, not-so-good things happen to you,” she said.
Blagojevich’s testimony persuaded the jury to save him from three counts related to an alleged scheme to shake down a construction company for bribes. For those, the jury deadlocked on two and found him not guilty of a third.
However, the jury was certain of his guilt regarding the 13 charges related to the sale of President Obama’s former US Senate seat. Wilson said those charges were “the easiest” on which to reach guilty verdicts.