Hill: How big a setback is this?
Crawford: Erica, this is a huge setback. As we saw in Barry's piece, Pat Fitzgerald said these were crimes that would make Abraham Lincoln roll over in his grave. Those are strong statements and the only conviction was on the weakest count. That's a felony, lying to the FBI As punishable by up to five years in prison. It's the same crime Martha Stewart was convicted of. But a hung jury on 23 of 24 counts can only be characterized as a huge setback.
Hill: What happened here? Where did the government go wrong in this case?
Crawford: I think there was a sense of overconfidence by the government. When they played those tapes, they assumed the jury would just be shocked and really what the tapes show is that Blagojevich was a profane loud-mouthed guy. That's not exactly a shock to jurors in Chicago politics. And the defense did a really good job of getting back to the simple concept: Follow the money. And there wasn't a dime the prosecution showed went into Blagojevich's pocket, it was all talk. So is he a bad governor or a criminal? The prosecution didn't show how the tapes translated into criminal conduct.
Hill: So if there is a retrial when you look at this, does the prosecution or defense have the advantage?
Crawford: That cuts both ways. I think this time though, it really favors the defense because the defense attorney made a huge calculation to open this trial saying they would hear from Blagojevich, and that these were not criminal acts and at the end he didn't testify. So now the next go around, the jury didn't hold that against him but the next go around they will not say in those opening statements. It cuts both ways. The prosecution does get to hone its case, they know which witnesses will work, but I think this time round two may cut for Blagojevich.