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. shaolinkaz

    so he's got 90 days to hang himself for the "easy way out". The clock begins..

    December 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      And that would be a bad thing why? It would save the state money by not having to house or feed him.

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

    Nice...That only took 3 years! At this rate we should have all the corrupt people in jail by........oh never....

    December 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. malibu123

    Blago: the quintessential democrat.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cathy W

      George Ryan. The quintessential Republican

      December 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam doesn't really matter. No one is in politics for the good of the country. They are all out to get whatever they can for themselves. They only align themselves with a party to protect their seat.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lar

      I recommend you read And Justice for Some, you might think twice about your misguided presumptions about dems

      December 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      The quintessential democrat huh? Like all the republicans never do anything wrong either. Anyone find those weapons of mass destruction yet?

      December 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TakeOffTheWhiteWigAndStopJudging

    Wow, 14 years? Talk about making an example. Michael Jackson's doctor killed him and only got 4 years. Seems a little off skew if you ask me. There are politicians doing a lot worse than trying to sell a senate seat.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nightsun2k7 if your country would just go after bush, cheney and rummy all might start to become right with the world again

    December 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Memada

      I don' tknow who you are or what country you are from – but you can STFU!

      December 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • nightsun2k7 want me to join the Southern Tenant Farmers Union?

      December 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NewsCommando

    Funny how the government/justice works if someone is stealing money from them and others they give them 14 year then they have the IDIOT Casey Marie Anthony kills her daughter and gets away, Do you see what is wrong with the picture here? One reason i don't trust this Government.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • KimH

      You do realize that both were tried by juries and one was convicted and one wasn't??

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

    So, if you have policies that cause the death of 29 miners because you skimped on safety to ensure more profits, or you crash the national economy with your illegal financial schemes, you don't serve a day. How is this fair?

    December 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Froggy

    14 years for trying to sell a senate seat? Is it really THAT big of a deal? I was thinking more like 3-5

    December 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Memada

      I agree – there are a lot worse criminals out there getting more time – give him a big fine, 2 years, and prohibit him from running for office again. But 14 years – ridiculous!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • KimH

      And shaking down a children's hospital, and a horse-racing official, and lying to the FBI.....

      December 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TL the alligator

    nah....he deserves every bit of what he got....that pompous fool is as dumb as he looks.....he did it to himself and now he gets to prepare for what likely will be the last days of his life being incarcerated.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Memada

      If beign dum were a crime – Obama would be in big trouble!

      December 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brian

    Cool, even Bernie Madoff got an easier sentence. I love this country.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James

    The only difference between this guy and every other politician in America is he got caught.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JohnP

    He's unbelievably sorry he got caught.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian

    now, if blogovic was black. He wouldn't have been charged at all. I love the justice department.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ph

      NO, he would have gotten the electric chair.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Memada

      This is the Obama justice department.

      December 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tafugate

    speaks loudly and clearly to the inequities of the american judicial system. name one politician that hasn't sold a vote to a special interest when it's not in the best interest of the american taxpayer? i'm not saying what blagojevich did was right, but the punishment doesn't fit what is clearly commonplace.

    December 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bubba

    He's got 90 days to prepare for prison. He needs to rent the movie "Big Stan"!

    December 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
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