Judge denies Blagojevich's bid to lighten 14-year sentence
Aug 10 2016 by Desiree Burns
U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, who is presiding over today's doomed appeal, was the judge who originally sentenced Blagojevich to 14 years in prison in 2011. They said the people of IL deserve better and Blagojevich deserves his original sentence.
Speaking at the hearing Tuesday, assistant US attorney Debra Bonamici countered the notion that Blagojevich is a fundamentally changed man, noting how he has expressed remorse for having made "mistakes" rather than for "committing crimes".
The re-sentencing hearing of Blagojevich, which featured an attempt on the part of his defense team to reduce his 14-year sentence to five years for good behavior, represented a stark change from the defiance he showed when news of his corruption scandal first broke in 2008.
"I had a lot of ambition before", Blagojevich said.
The allegations prompted his impeachment by Illinois' House of Representatives and his removal from office by the state Senate in 2009.
Prosecutors say Blagojevich hasn't done anything crucial to rehabilitation since he's been incarcerated in 2012.
Leonard Goodman, Blagojevich's attorney, opened up the possibility of taking the case to the Supreme Court. "What I suggest is the case you have before you is significantly different from the case in 2011", he said.
He shook his head and stared stoically into the camera as Zagel, the same judge who sent Blagojevich to prison in the first place more than four years ago, ordered he remain in prison for his original 168-month sentence.
Judge Zagel, acknowledged Blagojevich's family, saying "I am sympathetic to. how painful this situation is to them".
Blagojevich told a Chicago federal court Tuesday morning via a live video feed from a Colorado prison that he realizes it was a mistake to have lashed out in public when he was unhappy with how past his legal proceeding were going.
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Reading from a teleprompter for a change, the Republican nominee laid out his economic plan - broadly tax reforms, no trade deals harmful to the United States and fewer regulations.
"I wish I could turn back the clock and make different choices", said Blagojevich, who didn't use notes.
Subdued for much of the two-hour hearing, Blagojevich wiped tears from his eyes when his daughters, 13-year-old Annie and 20-year-old Amy, made statements in court.
Blagojevich - dressed in a green prison uniform, his dark hair turned white as he appeared via videoconference - admitted he made many mistakes, including the way he fought back against the charges. WATCH: Blagojevich family disappointedBlagojevich told the court his time in prison has allowed him to "grow his faith".
Rod Blagojevich's defense attorney says the former IL governor's corruption case is "no longer about selling his office for personal gain".
In her two-page letter, she described the pain of Blagojevich's absence and how he has missed the graduations and piano recitals of the couple's two children.
More than 100 of Blagojevich's fellow inmates wrote letters on his behalf.
Rod Blagojevich's wife and two daughters have arrived at Chicago federal court ahead of the former IL governor's resentencing hearing. However, the court said a lesser sentence was not necessary, only that Blagojevich get another hearing in light of the charges that were thrown out. "I am pleading with you, indeed begging you, to please be merciful".
Blagojevich's attorneys had asked for a 5-year reduced term after a federal appeals court.
Blagojevich fronted a prison band called "The Jailhouse Rockers", named after the Elvis Presley song, which was dissolved after the lead guitarist was released, according to The Associated Press.