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Most Memorable Chicago Stories of 2011

With the year coming to a close, we asked our Twitter followers and Facebook fans to send us their picks for the top Chicago stories of 2011. Here’s a list of the most memorable, plus some additions from our staff.

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Blagojevich Trial and Sentencing

After a jury deadlocked last summer over 23 of the 24 counts brought against Rod Blagojevich, a retrial was scheduled for 2011. The second time around, a jury found the former Illinois governor guilty of 17 felonies. Despite an emotional apology from Blagojevich, Judge James Zagel handed down a 14-year sentence, which the ex-gov will begin serving in March.

Memorable Moments:

* Blagojevich quoted Rudyard Kipling after his sentencing trial:

* During his retrial, Blagojevich tried to explain the infamous phone conversation where “he described his opportunity to name a U.S. Senator to replace President Barack Obama as ‘f—ing golden.’” From Chicago News Cooperative:

“I’m afraid to answer this. I’d like to answer this but I’m not quite sure how to answer it,” Blagojevich said during his fourth day on the stand in his federal corruption retrial. “In my mind, I didn’t know. I had no idea other than all these different ideas that we were throwing around and that I was trying to figure out what if anything could possibly be part of a deal for the senate seat. I didn’t know.”

The vague response was part of a tough day for Blagojevich, who was sternly reprimanded by Judge James Zagel for implying the government deliberately edited transcripts of taped phone calls to eliminate comments favorable to him.

The audio:



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