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Blagojevich appeal denied; must serve out sentence

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Even as the panel threw out the charges, the judges said a 14-year sentence was appropriate, if not too lenient for Blagojevich's crimes.

As Judge James Zagel announced his decision Tuesday, crying was heard in the courtroom.

In an impassioned letter entered into the court record Monday evening, his wife, Patti Blagojevich, asked Zagel for leniency for her husband for the sake of their two daughters.

The five counts dropped a year ago relate to Blagojevich's attempt to trade the appointment of a U.S. Senate seat, which opened up after president-elected Barack Obama vacated it in late 2008.

Blagojevich must report to a federal prison in Colorado by tomorrow, to start serving a 14-year term he received for his conviction on numerous counts of fraud and corruption including attempting to sell the vacant U.S. Senate seat held by then Senator Barack Obama.

Blagojevich's projected release date from prison is in 2024. "I wish I could turn the clock back and make different choices".

In addition to trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder, he also lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shook down the CEO of Children's Memorial Hospital for campaign donations, and tried to squeeze the racetrack industry for campaign money in exchange for gambling legislation.

That didn't go very well, but now that the famously helmet-haired governor has already served four and a half years, his lawyers argued that his stint as the singer of the Jailhouse Rockers was evidence of his changed character.

"I nearly don't want to grow up because I want to wait for him to come home", Amy told the court.

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A statement from longtime family spokesman Glenn Selig said family members are expected to speak at the hearing.

A federal appeals court ordered the resentencing a year ago after dismissing some of the counts on which Blagojevich was convicted.

"He has never given up on us and we will never give up on him", Amy Blagojevich said. To third graders touring the Federal Building, he once said, "If I knew you, maybe I would have named you to the Senate seat".

After the appellate court's finding, Blagojevich appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to toss his remaining convictions, including for trying to extort a children's hospital for a campaign contribution and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. When Zagel walked into the courtroom, Blagojevich grew serious, looked at the camera and listened to what the judge had to say.

Prosecutors said Blagojevich's corruption in the IL governor's office further eroded the public's trust. Rod Blagojevich made his appearance Tuesday over a video link. "I've made many mistakes", he said via a closed-circuit television feed from his prison in Colorado.

His wife and two daughters, 20-year-old Amy and 13-year-old Annie made an emotional plea to the judge asking for leniency.

Prosecutors had opposed a reduced sentence.

During the hearing, the former governor tearfully apologized for his misdeeds, saying "I recognize it was my actions, and my words that led me here".

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