After apologizing to nearly everyone in federal court this morning, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years behind by U.S. Federal Judge James Zagel.
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The disgraced former governor spoke for a 19 minutes in court on Wednesday morning before hearing his sentence. He said he has made mistakes, is responsible for what had happened because he was the governor, and he finally apologized. After Blagojevich’s admission of guilt today, Judge James Zagel said that the admission shaved some time off of his sentence.
Blagojavich’s legal team has already said that they will appeal the sentencing. Prosecutors had asked for 15-20 years, and Blagojevich’s defense attorneys had asked for probation including severe public service assignments.
Rod Blagojevich, who will be nearing 70 years old when he is released from prison, was found guilty of 18 counts of wrongdoing out of 20 accusations which included the infamous and unprecedented attempt to profit from the exchange or sale of President Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat for favors. Obama’s Senate seat became vacated in 2008 when he won the U.S. presidential election of which the state’s governor, Rod Blagojevich, had explicit authority to name the next Senator to replace Obama.
Through wiretaps and high-profile tattle-tale witnesses, a jury was satisfied with multiple guilty charges against the former two-term governor of Illinois. His sentencing hearing has lasted two days. During the period between his guilty convictions and the current hearings, the ex-governor was allowed to stay at home with his wife Patti Blagojevich and their two school-aged daughters.
Since being arrested and ousted from his gubernatorial position in Illinois in December 2008, Blagojevich has maintained his innocence and criticizing the judicial system for refusing to play all of the secret recordings in court. Blagojevich has continually insisted that if the jury had heard all of the tapes, the outcome of his trial would have been different. Yet, Blagojevich’s famed quotes in referring to his power to replace Obama in the Senate convinced the jury of his guilty. The most famous of Blagojevich’s reactions to the vacancy of Obama’s Senate seat was: ‘This is f—-ing golden!’
Blagojevich’s time behind bars will overlap the time in which his predecessor, former Illinois Governor George Ryan, is spending in prison. Illinois now has the dubious distinction of having had four of its recent governors go to prison for wrongdoing in their political dealings in the state.