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. USGOV

    Death penalty would be more appropriate for corrupt politicians

    December 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • T105

      That would be an over kill. I think he got the right sentence

      December 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Couldn't agree more...

      December 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Meaning I also think the death penalty is appropriate for corrupt politicians. Their actions are very close to treason.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kamal toyyib

    Dt is d bst judgement 4 selfish ppl lik him who dn't care 4 other. If Nigeria cn act ds way 2 it wud be a lesson 2 other

    December 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ricky k

    Obama going to let rob out of prison. before christmas , and thats is christmas present from the president .beside every presidents did,during the holidays .

    December 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    I feel sorry for Blago's kids....those 2 little girls will grow up without their Dad and feel humiliation when their Dad's name is uttered in public,

    Where's the Xmas sprit, judge? Give him 6 months behind bars and 5 years community service...he never got the chance to carry out the crime of selling a Senate seat...the real victims are his kids!

    December 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I'm with you. I can't help but feel a little sorry for the guy with 14 years even given his criminal charlatan ways. Murder carries far less. Part of this was about political grandstanding.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      So you blame the judge and NOT the criminal? His children, he, and his wife have NO ONE to blame but him. The judge's conscience should be clean.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. telltale

    Disgusting the way the judge insists on sitting there and having people beg him for mercy while he already knows that he's not giving it. Why not just indicate that you've already reached a sentence and not go through this charade?

    December 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Christopher Macsurak

    I just think 14 years is too long. It should be five. We should focus our attention on making politics more transparent. American politics is flawed. It's not about serving the people, it's about money and power and egos. Sentences for most crimes in the US are too long. We have too many people in prison for too what cost? This is not healthy.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      are you kidding, drug dealers get 10 yrs, serve 5 then get right back on the street and most get arrested again,the law is way to lenient on criminals and this process of negotiation or plea bargaining is a frekin joke. get them off the streets and keep them where they belong-GONE.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Austin

      I agree.........sentences are WAY to lenient. There is no deterrent for doing the crime if you're going to get a slap on the wrist. The people of IL are to blame somewhat......they elected him TWICE!! But, there needs to be accountability for your actions.....send a clear message to all politicians that it is not business as usual and you will be accountable to the people that elected you. You don't have to act dumb when you're dong the right thing. How ignorant do these politicians think we are?

      December 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mary H

    Oh please saying that it was too harsh a sentence, he was the Governor of the State of Illinois had a law degree and said he thought what he did was acceptable practice? Give me a break, only thing wrong here is that he wasn't handcuffed and led off to processing....instead he gets 90 day's before reporting!!! Now he admits guilt to the Judge. What a smug self centered piece of dirt!!!!

    December 7, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jim

    Rod is a total phony, he should have gotten more like 18 yrs. and then no apology to the people of Illinois. see ya loser in 12 yrs. Now lets hope the President don;t pardon him. that would be the ultimate slap in our faces.

    December 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ME

    i suspect that most all do them do this if the chance arrises... he just got caught...

    December 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      Perfect liberal mentality. EVERYONE does it so it's OK...

      December 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ME

    yep, pardon him mr. president...

    December 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ArizonaYankee

    Obama has been more corrupt in any single day he has been in office, yet nothing happens to this traitor, and crook. You can throw Pelosi and Frank in there as well. What a joke this judicial system is......

    December 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Gonna vote for Mr. Unethical Gringrich if you get the chance aren't ya?

      December 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense

      Please provide examples

      December 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • restoman

      Arizona, that explains everything

      December 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary H

      Yes they all need to go and the only way to do this is VOTE THEM OUT!!!

      December 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jim

    Jesse Jackson Jr. needs to be investigated too.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Frank

    Maybe a pardon coming up?

    December 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rick

    14 years seems extreme. Heck people that kill others often get less.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • tcp

      Sends a pretty strong message I'd say. Abuse the public trust, go to JAIL!

      December 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Blago

    Gee. A politician lied. Wow. He got caught. (shrug) Anything new going on?

    December 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
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