A federal judge tells ex-governor Rod Blagojevich that he must serve his full prison sentence, denying any reduction in sentence after an appellate court dismissed a handful of charges against him.
Appearing from a Colorado prison via video, the disgraced ex-governor looked visibly thinner with white hair. His two daughters, now 20 and 13 spoke, saying how much they missed him while Blagojevich teared up over the video feed.
When allowed to speak, Blagojevich gave a lengthy, apologetic speech about redemption that referenced Abraham Lincoln and the Bible.
Blagojevich’s defense attorney told the judge the ex-governor is a different man, but prosecutors reminded Judge James Zagel that all of the factors that led to the 168-month sentence remain.
Zagel agreed. He reinstated the full 168-month sentence, saying Blagojevich still hasn’t shown signs of reform. He told the packed courtroom that the fabric of Illinois was torn and that trust was diminished because of the governor’s willful actions.
Blagojevich had brought corruption to Illinois’ highest office, despite pleas by both of the ex-governor’s daughters and a stack of endorsements on his behalf, Zagel said.
His wife, Patti Blagojevich spoke after the ruling.
“I’m dumbfounded and flabbergasted at the inability for the judge to see that things are different than they were four and a half years ago,” she said.
Blagojevich’s brother, Robert, disagreed with Judge Zagel’s opinion that Rod was not remorseful for his crimes. “He’s admitted culpability and responsibility. How much can you squeeze out of a turnip? I don’t know,” he told reporters after the trial.
Blagojevich was convicted in 2011 on charges related to attempting to sell now President Obama’s Senate seat.
Blagojevich is set to be released in 2024. His attorney Len Goodman says the governor will pursue the case to the Illinois State Supreme Court court even though the court has said that they would not hear this appeal.
— Blagojevich appeal denied; must serve out sentence —