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. P.G

    Hi bangs will be REALLY long in 14 years,

    December 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rich

    14 years is too harsh. The guy is a total creep. But let’s face it, Casey Anthony and Drew Peterson got off scott free YET they committed murder!

    December 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      One could argue that corruption on this scale which signficantly affects every person in a state, indeed every person in the country, and which undermines the very foundations of democracy is at least as serious a crime as murder.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Big_D

    I do see Blagojevich doing time but I think this sentence will be vacated because it is not reasonable. We will have to wait and see.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lar

      and lets not forget the ever so popular Presidential Pardon, should Obama lose that could be as early as this time next year... if he wins then it's wait another 4... but either way Im certain it will cross his desk hmmmmmmm

      December 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      I doubt that President Obama would pardon Mr. Blagojevich. The former gov. is radioactive now, politically, and there's nothing for Obama to gain from it because Blagojevich has nothing to offer in return.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Oh, and Pres. Obama will be re-elected for a second term... not because he deserves it but simply because the GOP has utterly failed to produce a viable candidate.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lar

    The sine qua non of politics is quid pro quo, if they were all on tape would any of them be without fault, I doubt it

    December 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gregory Faith

    Really! Do you really think he's going to show up. Hell, the minute he left the court house, he was making his exit plans. I got a ton of money bet on him dissappearing.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jordan

    Well all I have to say is there are a lot more to put in jail right in Washington, DC.
    And I would take a guess to say that the majority if not all of Washington are taking large sums of money at the expense of all us Americans no matter what your political leanings are.
    2012 we should all make them answer for their crimes.

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

    90 days? WHY? So he can buy more time, more people and NOT SERVE any time at all? If it were you or I, .......

    December 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      My guess is to allow for the filing of the inevitable appeals.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wolfy4661

    How many Governors in a row is this now for Illinois? 6 I think. Politics as usual for the state I was born and raised in. Corruption is just part of the game they play in that state. I wasn't surprised by any of this. He will now sit in the Governors suite in prison for probably 7 years then get probation. Don't you love this states retirement plan?

    December 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eric

    "There is a line between routine politics, horse trading and campaign politics," Blagojevich said. "I thought they were permissible and I was mistaken." ... Reminds of when George Castanza got fired for having s_e_x with the cleaning lady on his desk. "What that wrong? If had known that this sort of thing was frowned upon around here, I wouldn't have done that."

    December 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. larry5

    Will this be happening to more of Obama's friends?

    December 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ibuk

    He should have got the full 20 years. He should not have got a 6 year reduction for admitting he was wrong during the sentencing hearing. He should have accepted his destiny when he was arrested. I would also ask why only a $20,000 fine, he should be paying the full costs of the trials, lawyers costs, judges, and court staff salary costs, court room and security costs etc... these cost millions of dollars and should come out of his pocket not my tax dollars.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. WhoCares--I do

    Not enough exist to describe the vileness I have for Blagojevich. After the piles of crap, listening to his pleas of innocence, blah, blah, blah, he crawls out of the lowest wagon rut to say, "oh yeah, my bad. Sorry." REALLY! Maybe if he repaid the millions of dollars his circus act cost the taxpayers of a strapped state, I might have let him go with castration and 14 years. It must be nice to not have a soul or a moral compass...but have a muskrat for a hair piece.

    It is people like him that makes me weep for the present and the future. This illustrates the proverb, "How can you tell if a politician is lying...his lips are moving."

    December 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Agent Jones

    What a sad country the u.s. has become. We'll let child rapist and murderers off with a slap on the wrist so they can quickly go repeat the same crime time and time again, then turn around and make an example out of this shmuck. Granted what he did was wrong! But 14 years??

    December 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. comm0nSense

    Damn ... that was heavy handed. WS bankers and their senate profiteers are still enjoying the sun on their yachts. The Catholic church has no priest sent to prison (not even for an overnight smacking) after all the years of child abuse (that very likely still goes on). Yet, poor Blagojevich, gets b**** slapped with 14 YEARS of jail time for something all politicians do to one level or another. Well, if you are not balling with the top-dogs, you get smack the heck down.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. defcon2

    Bet he'll never see the inside of the prison.

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