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Blagojevich begins media blitz for second corruption trial

CHICAGO - With a second corruption trial against him looming, impeached Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich launched a second pretrial media blitz Friday - directing his comments, at least in part, to anyone who might end up on a second jury.

Speaking days after a mostly deadlocked panel convicted him on just one of 24 counts after a two-and-a-half month trial, an unbowed Blagojevich accused prosecutors of criminalizing "political horse trading," and he likened himself to David battling a federal Goliath.

"We are going to win," Blagojevich, 53, told NBC's "Today" show about an expected sequel to his first trial. "We've already won the first round. We're going to win this one."

He also thanked the lone juror who dug in her heels to prevent a conviction on the most serious charge - trying to sell an appointment to President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.

Minutes after the one guilty verdict was read in court Tuesday, prosecutors told the judge they would retry Blagojevich on all the undecided counts. Take two could start within months.

In the months before his trial, Blagojevich popped up everywhere, including on "The Celebrity Apprentice" reality show. It was widely believed he was attempting to influence the jury.

One difference this go around on the media circuit is that the ex-governor sits before TV viewers having been convicted of lying to the FBI.

"This time he's a felon and a crook," University of Illinois at Chicago political science professor Dick Simpson. "It doesn't mean he can't try to put a gloss on it, but it makes it harder for him to be credible."

On Friday, a deferential Blagojevich spoke calmly about how prosecutors came after him for what he describes as nothing more than talk.

"They slandered me across the world when they said I was selling a Senate seat for money," he said. "Political judgments in my world are still legal and horse trading - and discussing those things are still legal."

"If they're charging me with crimes, then they ought to charge every other politician in America," he said.

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