Politics

Prosecutors ask for 15 to 20-year sentence for Blago

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to sentence former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to between 15 and 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors filed a 21-page document Wednesday morning. It cites Blagojevich's criminal activity was serious, extended and extremely damaging.

The former governor was convicted at two separate trials on 18 corruption counts.

Blagojevich was corrupt from the get go, say prosecutors in their filing. He "knew about the crimes of George Ryan", built his campaign around "restoring integrity" in state government, but did exactly the opposite up to the day of his arrest.

In their 21-page filing, prosecutors say that "Blagojevich has done his best to undermine the legitimacy of the proceedings" against him, that "he dos not respect the rule of law" and that he still believes he is the victim of actions caused by others.

The reality, prosecutors argue, is that Blagojevich's crimes "have done enormous damage to public confidence in Illinois government," he has "refused to accept responsibility" and he has "repeatedly obstructed justice."

Yes, this will have consequences for his family, prosecutors acknowledge, but "Blagojevich has nobody to blame but himself." The government wants a sentence of 15 to 20-years.

Blagojevich's lawyers have said that the appropriate sentence is probation, that the former governor never had any criminal intent, that his actions didn't cause significant harm, and that, as a public servant, he did a lot of good things.

"All the factors and features that work in their favor, they'll play up, and that ought to have some effect. It's not going to result in a sentence of probation, but there's a story to tell and they'll tell it on the day of sentencing," said Gil Sofer, former federal prosecutor.

UIC political science professor Dick Simpson has written extensively about corrupt Illinois politicians.

"As governor, Blagojevich set the tone that has continued a culture of corruption that is undermining this state and it's political process," said Simpson.

The Blagojevich defense team filed its response to the government Wednesday. Defense attorneys tell ABC7 that the former governor will address the judge directly during the sentencing hearing. They have yet to decide whether Patti Blagojevich will also address the court.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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