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Trial delayed for Rod Blagojevich, accused of selling Senate seat

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The second trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been pushed to April 2011
  • Jurors deadlocked on 23 of 24 counts against Blagojevich in his first trial
  • Blagojevich is accused of trying to sell the Senate seat once held by President Obama

(CNN) -- The second edition of the federal corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been pushed back to spring, a court spokesman said.

Once scheduled for January, the start date for Blagojevich's next trial is now April 20, said Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. District Court in Chicago. The ex-governor and reality show star is accused, among other things, of trying to gain financially and politically as he weighed who to name U.S. senator when Barack Obama was elected president.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel will preside over the trial, just as he did during the first one earlier this year.

That one ended in August, when jurors convicted Blagojevich of lying to federal agents on one of 24 counts brought against him by the federal government. They deadlocked on all the other counts, and federal authorities soon thereafter signaled their intent to request a new trial. One juror claimed the jury came one vote short of convicting Blagojevich of attempting to sell a U.S. Senate seat.

The jury also couldn't reach a decision 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. But just over one week after that trial ended, prosecutors dropped the charges against Robert.

His brother, a two-term Democrat, was removed from office in January 2009 amid accusations that he attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat that Barack Obama held before he was elected president.

While awaiting trial, the ousted governor repeatedly asserted his innocence in interviews and on Twitter, as well as during his appearances on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" reality show. He has said he might return to politics after his legal issues are over.