14 Years in Prison Not So 'Golden' for Blago. What Do You Think?

Effort to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat ultimately leads to a 14-year prison sentence for the disgraced ex-governor. Take the Patch poll.

Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison Wednesday.

Convicted on 18 federal counts, the governor who was impeached and booted out of office had tried to trade on his ability to appoint Barack Obama's successor in the Senate in exchange for campaign cash or an appointment to a federal job.

The governor famously described the vacant seat as "f---ing golden" and an opportunity not to be wasted, statements captured on federal wiretaps.

"When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn and disfigured and not easily repaired," Judge James Zagel said as he handed down the sentence.

Prosecutors wanted 15 to 20 years.

Blagojevich, who at all times in his political life played the role of jaunty, glad-handing performer, even as he was on trial, seemed subdued Wednesday as he apologized to the court for his misdeeds.

"I'm here convicted of crimes," Blagojevich said. "I am accepting of it, I acknowledge it and I of course am unbelievably sorry for it."

Blagojevich, who will be 55 on Dec. 10, embraced his wife and brushed tears from her cheeks after the sentence was read. He'll go behind bars on Feb. 16.

[ The Complete Report: Huffington Post Chicago's Rod Blagojevich page. ]

[ The FBI's Release: Longest Prison Term for Ex-Governor. ]

Richard Schulte December 08, 2011 at 02:49 PM
It's hard to know what to think about this. On the surface, it looks bad, but how is what the former governor did any different that what goes on in Crook County and Springfield on a daily basis? If what Blago did is a crime, it seems like Illinois will be needing to build more courts and prisons-lots of Illinois pols will be joining him in prison. I'm more concerned about the union officials getting pension money from the teachers' pension fund.
Leslie December 08, 2011 at 09:21 PM
Honestly its way to harsh. It’s hard for me to understand why he got such a long sentence when there are criminals with mile long rap sheets still out committing more crimes! He doesn’t seem to have done anything different than most other politicians, the only difference here is he made an a** on himself on TV. Big Deal!!!
annie December 09, 2011 at 12:52 AM
I don't feel sorry for him at all. Prison sentences for "federal" crimes are different than state crimes. The sentence is based on a formula and it's my understanding there is no early release. It was his job to represent the people of IL. Crooks? what can I say?. We have not been represented very well, for the past 20+ years. The state of IL is broke.In my mind, the only thing Rod is sorry for, is that he got caught. Period.
Matt Klinkert December 09, 2011 at 02:41 AM
Public Enemy No. 1 Alphonse Capone — notorious gangster, accused murderer on several occasions, co-founder of the Chicago Outfit, racketeer, bootlegger, income-tax evader, brothel profiteer, corrupter of Cicero, Burnham and Forest View, and Tommy Gun enthusiast, who loved cheating on his wife and cracking skulls with baseball bats — was sentenced in 1932 to 11 years in prison and only served seven of them. The facts speak for themselves. But to correct Zagel's patriotic metaphor, Blago didn't tear Illinois' fabric; he just tried clipping a piece to make into a bandana for his killer dew.
Lisa Stone December 09, 2011 at 03:29 AM
What often goes dangerously unnoticed is at the local level. Some elected officials "look the other way" on matters that could have grave impact on the safety, health & welfare of not only their citizens, but citizens in neighboring communities as well. Particularly, unincorporated neighbors. Decisions that potentially may impact an official's profession and/or personal finances should have better checks & balances in place, regarding conflict of interest. Crony capitalism & entrenched local officials have no fear of consequence or law, given the things that go unnoticed at the local level. I hope that yesterday's sentencing warns elected officials, at every level of gov't, that their oath to the people is sacred, and that breach of that oath will result in lengthy incarceration. Regardless of who they are or who they know.


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