Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Rod Blagojevich Gets 14 Years For Trying To Sell President Obama's Old Senate Seat

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich got 14 years for trying to leverage President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat to raise campaign cash or land a high-paying job. That followed convictions through 2 trials on 18 charges (the first trial ended in mistrial on all but one charge), including bribery, attempted extortion, and lying to the FBI.

Blagojevich's legal team came up with a rather curious strategy in seeking leniency during the sentencing hearings. He had his lawyers admit he's guilty of the charges, but are seeking mercy from the court.
Judge James Zagel signaled Tuesday he may be prepared to impose a stiff prison sentence, saying he thinks Blagojevich lied when he told jurors he never tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat for campaign cash or a top job.

Throughout the first day of his two-day sentencing hearing, the impeached executive-turned-reality TV star known for his jocular personality was somber and ill-at-ease, staring down at the floor. His wife sobbed as a letter from their daughter was read begging Zagel not to send Blagojevich to prison.

The hearing was a stark contrast to the circus atmosphere around Blagojevich's trials on multiple counts of corruption.

The conciliatory tone came as something of a surprise — just days after defense filings that, as many times before, stridently declared Blagojevich's innocence and said he had been duped by aides but never intended to cross any lines into illegality.

Attorney Sheldon Sorosky told Zagel it was illegal for Blagojevich to ask for a job for himself in exchange for naming Obama's replacement in the Senate.

"There's no doubt this is a crime to do this in relation to the Senate seat, we accept that," he said. "I am just saying that does not call for a 15- to 20-year jail" term as prosecutors have requested.
He got a pretty harsh sentence all things considered. There was no reason to give him any leniency whatsoever. His only remorse was in being caught.

Blagojevich will be able to spend the holidays with his family; he wont be taken into custody until February 16, 2012.

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