December 7th, 2011
01:33 PM ET

Blagojevich sentenced to 14 years for corruption charges

[Updated at 1:33 p.m. ET] Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Blagojevich was also sentenced to pay a $20,000 fine.

The judge said he does not have report to prison for 90 days.

"I do accept his apology in his testimony, and I do believe he may regret the fate of others," Judge James Zagel said.

But that wasn't enough for the judge.

"It comes late," he said, of Blagojevich's accepting responsibility for his actions.

In announcing the sentence Judge James Zagel said Blagojevich's abuse of the governor's office "is more damaging than any other office in the U.S." besides the presidency.

Zagel noted that he did not resign as governor despite the indictments, but if he had it might have helped show he accepted responsibility.

The judge told Blagojevich that he had ruined the careers of a few people who worked for him. Zagel also questioned part of Blagojevich's accepting responsibility.

"Why did the thoughts of his children not weigh heavily on his reckless conduct?" Zagel said.

Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation applauded the sentence.

“The sentence handed down today represents a repayment of the debt that Blagojevich owes to the people of Illinois," he said. "While promising an open and honest administration, in reality, the former governor oversaw a comprehensive assault on the public’s trust."

[Posted at 1:03 p.m. ET] Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich apologized to his state, his family and the judge, saying he is "unbelievably sorry," during his sentencing hearing for corruption convictions Wednesday.

"I've had plenty of time to reflect on all that's happened," Blagojevich said. "I'm here convicted of crimes and I am accepting of it, acknowledge it."

Blagojevich, a Democrat, was accused of trying to profit as he considered whom to appoint to succeed Barack Obama when he vacated his Senate seat to move to the White House.

"There is a line between routine politics, horse trading and campaign politics," Blagojevich said. "I thought they were permissible and I was mistaken."

He was convicted of corruption in June after a jury returned 17 guilty verdicts against him.

Federal prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 15 to 20 years, but his lawyers have called that excessive and asked the judge for leniency on Tuesday, even as they admitted for the first time that crimes were committed.

soundoff (532 Responses)
  1. Isaac

    now if only we held Wall Street and bankers to this level of justice

    December 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      that would be because they have more money to pay off the judges etc.. Blago didn't have enough $ or clout. Or didn't have any dirt an anyone. That is how it works.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DNA

    there is no fairness whatsoever in sentencing this guy. the only loosers are his kids, wife and the country. the only winners the judge ego to set up example in the name of promoting justice. 14 years is simply too long for a dream that wasn't realized in the first place.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • lagtat

      you are a complete and utter nitwit.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • hm0912

      I agree I think you should delete your comment its very stupid

      December 7, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • His Boy Elroy

      For someone guilty as he is, this sentence is totally fair. I wish others who behave as he did would be found guilty and serve similar sentences.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charm84

      really? an example? he did a lot more than was mentioned in this article. just to name a couple... there are hundreds of more people homeless and on the streets of illinois because of him. he withheld funds to children's hospitals for over a month which in turn caused some severe damage with their funding and being able to help families out. illinois has really been in trouble for awhile, but the damage created by him is almost irreversible.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Robbed

    OUCH. ( That's him getting ROBBED on his first night in prison. )

    December 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. johnny popper

    His crimes were peanuts compared to the leaders in power presently, Madigan, Cullerton, Quinn, yet they are allowed to roam free. Blago refused to play ball with these mobsters and they rang him up. They are still stealing from the public every day they are in power, but they spent 5 million of the public's money to put theri nemisis away for 14 years. The whole thing is another example of how incredibly, irreplably our state is corrupt. illinois has the most debt of any state in the union percentage wise and there's no end in sight of kicking the present criminals either simply out or preferably into jail. The fella who heads our state's house of representatives has his daughter inserted as our attorney general. His law firm handles appeals of property tax for most of the major businesses. Chicago, which accounts for 80% of the state's power, has had a Daley as mayor for something like 65 of the last 75 years and a Republican has not won a seat in Chicago or its county in 75 years.

    Obama rose out of this cesspool of corruption. Every race Obama was ever in had his opponent go up in flames for personal reasons....see any of the front running rhino candidates presently. Sealed legal records were leaked. His COstaff, Emanuel, Daley's brother Bill who's now a DC power broker, all from Chicago.

    And this DA Blago gets prosecuted twice and thrown in for 14 and he never was actually successful in his extortion. What a big sham these people are running on everyone. It's a larger version of the sham congress is pulling now with the "payroll cuts" involving social security. Just corruption everywhere in government and people want more government programs? Yay right.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • hm0912

      not really. His crimes were comparable in a different sense. Lives were also ruined because of him.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rick

    I am sure if I got convicted of something carrying a 14 year sentence, they would give me 90 days to get my affairs in order before having to go to jail. The feds are always forgiving and easy-going towards convicted felons!

    December 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |

    I thought we paid that Judge?

    December 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JD

    He won't serve a day so why bothering arguing over his sentence. Between paying people off and appeals he'll never see a day in any real prison.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ajgorm

    Yeah well there you go he tried to sell a job. It happens all the time managers give the jobs to friends and family and they say they are hiring fairly BS ! but we all know we would hire a friend or family before we hire someone else.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jinda

    "Blogo's Prison" wold make a great reality show!

    December 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. carolae

    That should give him time to flee the country or go into hiding. Am sure he has already moved money to an offshore account way back when he was first convicted. Once in prison, he will never see spending 14 years behind bars....more like 7-10 with time out for good behavior. Wonder who he will be bribing while inside the big house....and I don't mean the Governor Mansion!

    December 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ItsMeAgain

    Conrad Murray gets 4 yrs and Blagojevich gets 14 yrs. There's something wrong with this picture.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • PiledOn

      Nope. One killed a child molester and the other killed TRUST.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • annebeth

      Agree. Blagojevich did not kill anyone!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Commentary

      The difference is: No one really believes Conrad Murray set out to murder Michael Jackson. That's why he wasn't overcharged (like, say, Casey Anthony). On the other hand, everything Blago did here was deliberately criminal.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Yeah, something is wrong. Blago deserved more time behind bars while Conrad Murray should get an award for ridding the planet of a child molester.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Charlie

    Good ridance to yet one more crook....of course, Washington is full of his playmates.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JPX

    Another narcissist bites the dust.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tim

    Now, can we find all the other crooks in government who walk the revolving door between lobbying and politics? Maybe they don't even need to be put behind bars – just a public tarring and feathering would do the trick.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ajgorm

    Poor Blowdavich he will have a hard time with that mop on his head and that squirley look. buba needs a pet.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
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