The verdict in Rod Blagojevich’s corruption case is expected in about 20 minutes. Chicago journos have been live-tweeting the hearing this morning. After blaming everyone and anyone and their mothers for his cesspool of woes, Blago played the belated remorse card and begged the judge for “mercy.”
The prosecution wants 15-20 years to “send a message.”
Via The Ward Room, Blago’s plea:
“I take responsibility. I was the governor and I should of known better”
“My life is in ruins. [Political] career is over. I can’t be a lawyer. We can’t live in our home”
#Blagojevich on his daughters: “I’ve ruined their innocence. They have to face the world knowing father a convicted criminal”
#Blagojevich: It’s not like their name is Smith. They can’t hide.”
#Blagojevich spends 18 min acceting the verdict & his fate, apologizing to his family & people of IL, then asks Zagel to “Please take mercy”
Break out the world’s smallest violin.
Will update as soon as verdict comes down…
Update: After a protracted preface from the judge, Blago gets close to 14 years. Surrender date is Feb. 16, 2012. The judge softened as a result of Blago’s last-minute apology, but chastised him for his blame game:
By Bob Secter, Jeff Coen and Annie Sweeney Tribune reporters
12:30 p.m. CST, December 7, 2011
Rod Blagojevich, Illinois’ 40th governor, was sentenced to 14 years in prison today for the attempted sale of a U.S. Senate seat, illegal shakedowns for campaign cash and lying to federal agents.
As the sentence was pronounced, Patti Blagojevich buried her head in her husband’s shoulder and the two embraced.
Blagojevich will have to serve just under 12 years under federal rules that say defendants must complete 85 percent of their sentence. Blagojevich doesn’t have to report to federal prison until Feb. 16.
The sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge James Zagel is more than double the prison term given in 2006 to former Gov. George Ryan, who is serving a 6 ½-year sentence in a federal prison in Terre Haute.
Zagel told Blagojevich that he was responsible for the crimes, not his underlings as he had argued. “He marched them and ruined a few of their careers and more than that in the process,” the judge said.
While Zagel said he was sympathetic to how the sentence would affect Blagojevich’s daughters, he asked, “Why did devotion as a father not deter him? … Now it is too late.”
This makes four former Illinois governors convicted of crimes.
PolarCoug (h/t SteveEgg) tweets: “The new official slogan for the State of Illinois: ILLINOIS: WILL THE DEFENDANT PLEASE RISE?”
And from macguyinnc: The new official song for the State of IL: “Get Me to the Judge On Time.”
P.S. : Don’t forget Jesse Jackson Jr.
Selected background reading…