Prosecutors dismissing 3 charges in Blagojevich case

February 23, 2011

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(AP/File)

Federal prosecutors are dismissing three of the charges against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.  The charges are counts 1, 2, and four, racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, and wire fraud.  Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky welcomes the news. 

"We're thankful.  I think it shows the government believes he's innocent.  That's why a prosecutor drops charges," said Sorosky.

Another reason a prosecutor would drop the charges is because it makes the whole case stronger.  After Blagojevich's trial last summer jurors complained that the case was too confusing and they were deadlocked on 23 of the 24 counts though they did convict Blagojevich on one count of lying to the FBI.

This time around, prosecutors say they want to streamline their case as well as the instructions jurors take back with them into the jury room for deliberations.  The instructions for racketeering are particularly lengthy and may have complicated deliberations.

Blagojevich still faces 20 counts on wire fraud, extortion, and bribery at his retrial scheduled to start April 20th.