Rod Blagojevich's Narrow Escape: Ex-Illinois Gov. Guilty on 1 Count

A lone juror may have saved former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich from a conviction on the most serious corruption charge of conspiring to trade or sell President Obama's vacated Senate seat, according to a juror in the case.

Juror Erik Sarnello, 21, of Itasca, Ill., told "Good Morning America" that a female juror would not be swayed by the overwhelming majority and kept the jury deadlocked at 11-1 on three key counts related to the Senate seat -- conspiracy to commit extortion, attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit bribery.

VIDEO: Juror describes tension in Blagojevich casePlay
Juror Erik Sarnello Describes Tension in Blagojevich Case

"There were major, fundamental different ideas and views on what we were seeing in the evidence," Sarnello said. "We would play a phone call and one side would say, that supports, right there, he's guilty, and the other side would say, that means he's not guilty."

Sarnello said the holdout "wanted to see that clear cut evidence that we knew just wasn't there for her."

The jury found Blagojevich, 53, guilty on a lesser charge of making false statements to the FBI, but could not reach a verdict on the remaining 23 counts including racketeering, bribery, and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

VIDEO: The jury reached a decision of one of the 24 charges against Rod Blagojevich.Play
Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Faces Retrial

The jury deadlock is a major setback for federal prosecutors, who are pushing for a new trial as early as this fall. Blagojevich's defense team plans to appeal the one guilty verdict of lying to the FBI -- a conviction which carries a maximum prison term of five years.

The ousted governor is likely to serve a few months to a year in prison on that conviction, according to legal experts. Blagojevich is free on bond pending a retrial.

The verdict came after 14 days of what Sarnello described as tense jury deliberations.

"We came to deliberation with a lot of emotion and it did get heated in the beginning," he said. "We realized that people would get a little more offensive and shutdown."

Sarnello, who voted guilty on all three of the charges related to the sale of Obama's Senate seat, largely felt the prosecution proved its case, but said he did vote not guilty on a few counts.

"I couldn't make the connections...I didn't feel the government proved the case on that one," he said.

Jury foreman James Matsumoto, 66, voted guilty on all charges against Blagojevich and his brother, Robert Blagojevich, who escaped conviction.

"The people that [believed he was] not-guilty were adamant," Matsumoto told ABC News affiliate WLS in Chicago. "I thought the government proved its case in my opinion."

Rod Blagojevich Addressed Cheering Crowds, Thanked Jury

After the verdict, Rod Blagojevich addressed a cheering crowd outside the federal courthouse in Chicago. He continued to proclaim his innocence, including on the one charge for which he was convicted. He blamed the conviction on a "nebulous" conversation he had years ago.

"I did not lie to the FBI," Blagojevich said. "I've told the truth from the very beginning. ... This is a persecution."

Blagojevich showed no emotion as the verdict was read. He later thanked the jury.

"This jury just showed you that notwithstanding the fact the government threw everything but the kitchen sink at me ... on every charge except one they could not prove that I did break any laws," Blagojevich said.

"I didn't break any laws," he added. "I didn't do anything wrong."

After the jury deadlocked on the counts against him, Robert Blagojevich said the case proved the criminal justice system has flaws.

"If, in fact, the charges are brought back against me, we're prepared to defend those vigorously and aggressively as we did already," he said. "And I've got ultimate confidence in my acquittal."

He did not seem to savor the prospect of more time in court.

"I have lived through the most surreal experience anyone could live through," he said. "I have felt like this has been a slow-bleed from the beginning, both financially, emotional and otherwise."

Blagojevich Trial: Signs of a Jury Deadlock

Jurors asked for and received a copy of the oath that they took at the beginning of the trial Tuesday. The jury also asked Judge James Zagel how to mark the verdict form if they were unable to reach a verdict on some counts. Both were signs the jury was deadlocked on some of the counts against Blagojevich.

Jurors had indicated for the past week that they could not reach agreement on several of the counts facing Blagojevich. The six-man, six-woman jury sent a note to Judge James Zagel Thursday, saying that it had come to agreement on two of the 24 counts facing the impeached governor.

Zagel has described the jury as "disciplined and diligent."

Zagel could have also kept sending jurors back to deliberate until they reached a consensus.

During his seven-week trial, the ever-chatty Blagojevich worked the crowds outside the courthouse, glad-handing every step of the way. But inside the court, jurors heard a crass, profane politician on wire-tapped conversations.

Blagojevich: 'It's F****** Golden'

Prosecutors argued that the "Blagojevich enterprise" schemed to sell political favors, including an appointment to Barack Obama's Senate seat. The profanity-laced tapes exposed the fiery, backroom politics happening in Blagojevich's office directly after President Obama was elected. "I mean, I've got this thing and it's f****** golden," Blagojevich said the day after Obama won the presidency. "And I'm not giving it up for f****** nothing."

The gold he sought, prosecutors argued, was a high-powered job. The ex-governor asked top aide John Harris about trading the Senate seat for a Cabinet post in the Obama administration if he named Obama's choice.

On tape, Blagojevich suggested that Obama knew he wanted to make a deal, something the president repeatedly has denied.

"How about Health and Human Services, can I get that?" Blagojevich asked on one tape. "Whatever Cabinet position would not be stupid. How about U.N. ambassador? Ridiculous?"

Blagojevich went on to ponder where he might serve as ambassador, mentioning Germany, England, France and Canada. He floated a wide assortment of names for Obama's vacant Senate seat, including Oprah Winfrey.

"This one, she's so up there, so high, that nobody can assail this pick. This would be huge," he said.

At one point, the former governor even suggested appointing himself.

When it became clear that the Obama administration wasn't going to make a deal, Blagojevich got angry.

"They're not willing to give me anything but appreciation. ... F*** them," Blagojevich said on the tapes.

Other dirty schemes, said prosecutors, included trying to extort campaign cash from the head of a children's hospital.

Blagojevich's colorful defense team, a father and son, argued their client's only crime was "talking too much."

Sam Adam Sr. and Sam Adam Jr. claimed that the former governor was insecure and at the mercy of his advisers.

They even said that his stupidity was to blame, that he was "not the sharpest knife in the drawer."

The bottom line, his defense claimed, was that no money or jobs ever changed hands.

ABC News Radio and The Associated Press contributed to this report.