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Blagojevich conviction upheld by trial judge


Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich greets supporters as he enters the Dirksen Federal building for the start of his corruption trial in Chicago, June 3, 2010. REUTERS/Frank Polich
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich greets supporters as he enters the Dirksen Federal building for the start of his corruption trial in Chicago, June 3, 2010. REUTERS/Frank Polich

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The judge who presided over Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial refused on Wednesday to throw out the conviction of the former Illinois governor on a single count of lying to investigators.

The jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict on 23 other corruption counts, and the ousted two-term Democrat faces retrial in April.

Blagojevich was charged with trying to trade official acts for campaign cash and jobs, including attempting to sell an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.

Judge James Zagel of the U.S. District Court in Chicago rejected defense arguments that prosecutors unfairly cut off "meaningful cross-examination" of prosecution witnesses with their "improper objections."

"The arguments made here are weak in themselves. Defendant's motion is founded in substantial part on the well-known principle that if a lawyer cannot attack the law or the facts in a criminal prosecution, the only recourse is to attack the prosecutor," Zagel wrote in a three-paragraph statement filed in court.

(Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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