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. Imani

    I think that sentence is too harsh.

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

      I agree

      December 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Kelly

      It's not. There is no way a non-violent white collar criminal will spend the full sentence behind bars. At most he'll spend four years incarcerated and be on a loose probation the rest of the time.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • His Boy Elroy

      I disagree. He did awful things and should pay the consequences.

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

    Is it just me, or is this guy not the spitting image of Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine?

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

      More like Alfred's corrupt uncle.

      December 7, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Professor Trollworth

    He looks like a non-blue smurf in that picture.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. john

    The sentence will likely get bounced down by 1/2 and then he'll end up serving 2 years or so because that's the way these things go. Nice white guy, nice family, nice hair style, nice suits, lightly remorseful, etc. Just enough time for him to establish a dialogue with other jailed Chicago politicians and gangstas.

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

    OK, Blagojevich gets 14 years but the cases against pedophile Bernie Fine are too old to prosecute; where is the justice?

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

      Taking it under the table is one thing. Taking it in the rear end is different.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mm

    Wow! So, next up are all the Wall Street CEOs for committing fraud and theft, congress for insider trading and theft, etc., etc., etc. How can anyone justify this ( Blagojevich's sentence) and not do anything about those who brought and continue to bring this country down?! And, if you're locking up crooks in Illinois, specifically Chicago, you better build a new prison to house them in because that entire city and state have been corrupt for years.

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

      Your accusations are opinions. If we locked people up for opinions you would be in jail becuase in my opinion you are too negative and to me that should be a crime. He was comvicted of a crime – the others you mention have not been and likely have not committed a crime. All this focus on <.0001% of the people is such a waste (1% is 3.6 MM peolpe – yet we discuss the same 35 over paid CEO's over and over and over calling them 1%)

      December 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      It is funny how no one ever mentions the IDIOT consumers who made 40k a year and think they can afford a 500k house!!! People like that have no business even owning a house if you are that STUPID!!!!! Look at cigs or alcohol, should they stop selling their product cause it can harm you, for that matter should any fast food joint stop??? No it is business, selling what you can to make money! Do any of you please realize that a lot, not all!!!, of these CEO worked their AZZ off to get where they are??? EVERYONE WANTS A HAND OUT!!!!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • mm

      Read the news, kids!
      It wasn't just the housing industry that brought us to our knees there are other corporations that had a hand and continue to have a hand (i.e. Morgan Stanley, Fannie Mae, AIG, etc., etc., etc.,). Just recently this past week, judge denies any further SEC settlements as to hold those guilty accountable. Just today another story on insider trading in congress. Get a clue!
      And Enthalpy your opinion is just that, a stupid opinion and if they were throwing people in jail for their stupid opinions, in my opinion you would do life. Stop crying Chicago, this has been a way of life with you all!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. allen

    He gets 14, Conrad Murray gets 4. Unreal.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. john.q.everyman

    What about every other politician. You'd be nieve to think he was the only one who ever did this. More like he was the one who got caught. Also he isnt going to real prison dont think hes in for "punishment". Maybe he can be cell mates with Madoff.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mdc

    George Bush and Dick Cheney........your turn.

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


      December 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      You people need to get over it!!! they have been out of office for almost 4 years!!! You all act like 3 year olds, lets move on and fix all the BS that is wrong with this country!! They are gone and will never be in office again GET OVER IT!!!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. guest2011

    GOOD. For once a crooked politician is actually going to jail!!!

    December 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fred

    Why is it we can convict this guy, but we can't send away the crooks stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from their companies?

    Other than the two Enron chiefs and Bernie Madoff who has been put in jail?

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

      Who do you mean when you say stealing? Is someone embezeling and not being prosecuted or do you mean the made up crime of being paid more than you make as stealing. I think the $37 an hour union elevator operator is stealing. Paid that amount to push an up and down button on a job site.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      @Enthalpy....well said! Funny how all these idiot keep trying to make up stuff that is not their!!! LOL

      December 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      There!!! LOL My bad!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ted

    It's a sad day in America when this type of sentence is handed down for a practice that has been acceptable in politics for the past 50 years. And then child molesters get off with a simple sentence of 5 years or less in most cases. Very sad.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Snoopy

    He looks like the grinch in that picture. How festive.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Linda

    And Rangel walks free. What a joke. They all do this crap...he just got caught. I want Rangel in jail for defrauding taxpayers...his crimes were far worse. He actually got away with it!

    December 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. WVLady 63

    Conrad Murray got 4 years for letting Michael Jackson die and this guy gets 14 years for basically a scam???? ONLY IN AMERICA!!!!! Murray should have gotten at least 14 years, "Blago" only deserves 4 years.

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