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. larry5

    Obama was a strong supporter of this guy just a few years ago. What happened?

    December 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      The whole matter came about because Jesse Jacksons Son illegally solicted for the Senate position thru his aids in the first place,. and it seems they were / are all aware of tribute for political favors, as they all have charity foundations, as they call it on paper.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*Lobo74

      Tony Rezko and Blago were very tight with Obama. They are both serving long prison sentences. Of course you won't hear about that on CNN. Keeping us informed on Alec Baldwin is very important though.

      December 7, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. stunned

    why do you think they had to arrest him before any deal was made, I am sure there were quite a few people involved but they needed a scapegoat and blago was it. Imagine if they had waited, I am sure depending on who was involved there would have not been any prosecution, but they needed to get him before the deal went down to protect the other guilty people

    December 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Schro


    December 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Trish

    Why is it that he does not have to report for 90 days. If it was me or you it would have been an automatic straight to jail do not pass go. The judicial systems need to be fair all the time, not just when you have money. EX: Lohan

    December 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Truthwillsetyoufree

    Now, lets do whats right and convict Clarence Thomas for conflict of interest!

    December 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin in Atlanta


      December 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Everyman

    Remember that he was recruited to be on Trump's show. Trump refers to Paul and Huntsman as loser because they wont go on his show but he wanted a corrupt mayor. If any of the Republican candidates had a lick of sense they"d avoid Trumps debate like the plague.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. enough

    Should be 400 years! I mean, this man ruins the reputation of goverment officials, and justice system heros which are all pure clean and moral. This aberation of the group of perfects must be dealt with harshly- Yes!!! that's the ticket- he did something wrong, and the judge is a saint, because he wears a robe and points to finger of accusation- and condemns. Let's make it 4000 years, and then- 6000000 hours of community service.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Noah

    Obama will pardon Blago during his last week in office, be it next year or in five years.

    December 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. laughinglaura

    Is it just me or does Blago look like a hobbit?

    December 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ronnie Raygun

    @enough...Blago hasn't stained the reputation of government officials any more than Bush's lies stained the oval offices walls brown or Bill Clinton spooged them white liquidy clear with an obese intern drooling. Blago's ordeal only serves to confirm what we already know about politicians.

    December 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • enough

      ain't that the truth, and if one corrupt politician crucifying another- because 'he can' is suppose to make us feel good- think again.

      December 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. phreddy

    He will be out of prison before he needs a second hairbrush, Born Again and a valued politial commentator on all the major news outlets – when he isn't making Umpteen -millions of dollars a year as an author and dinner speaker.

    December 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ajgorm

    He has 90 days to turn himself in. What do you do for ninety days before you go to prison for 14 years that is alot of time to think about it before you go in maybe he will run .. Drink and chew your finger nails is one answer.

    December 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Doctor

    All he has to do is move 2 streets away and remove his toupet, et voila! He will never be found.

    December 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jackp_78

    He'll only serve a fraction of that 14 years.

    December 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. U First

    About time

    December 7, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
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