Judge delays Blagojevich sentencing

CHICAGO (AP) - September 26, 2011

A three-sentence notice posted electronically by U.S. District Judge James Zagel says simply that Blagojevich's Oct. 6 sentencing date has been "stricken until further order by the court."

Earlier this year, jurors found Blagojevich, 54, guilty on 17 of 20 corruption charges. At his first trial last year, a jury deadlocked on all but one count - convicting Blagojevich of lying to the FBI.

While Monday's filing did not offer a reason for the delay, there had been speculation that the impeached governor's sentencing could be pushed back because of a scheduling conflict with another, related trial.

The trial of a lobbyist-businessman and sometimes fundraiser for Blagojevich, William Cellini, is scheduled to start Oct. 3, and Zagel is also the presiding judge in that case.

The 76-year-old Cellini has pleaded not guilty to trying to shake down a Hollywood producer for campaign cash. Before his arrest, he was considered one of the top behind-the-scenes powerbrokers in Illinois.

Blagojevich faces a maximum sentence of around 300 years in prison - though federal guidelines dictate he get far less. Most legal experts say Zagel is likely to sentence Blagojevich to around ten years.

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