A federal choose is about to resolve whether or not to chop the 14-12 months jail time period of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich after an appellate courtroom threw out a number of of his corruption convictions.
CHICAGO (AP) — A federal choose will determine Tuesday whether or not to chop ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s 14-12 months jail sentence on greater than a dozen convictions upheld by an appellate court docket, together with that he sought to trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s outdated U.S. Senate seat in trade for marketing campaign money.
Blagojevich, often known as Inmate No. 40892-424 since he went to jail in 2012, gained a resentencing listening to after an appeals courtroom struck down 5 of his 18 convictions. The Democrat is scheduled to seem on a courtroom display screen by a video from a Colorado jail, which can mark his first public look since coming into jail.
Famously fastidious about his darkish hair as governor, it has turned all white in jail, the place his hair dyes are banned.
The one-time contestant on Donald Trump’s “Superstar Apprentice” actuality present has requested U.S. District Decide James Zagel to sharply scale back his sentence on the upheld convictions. Previous to Tuesday, Blagojevich’s projected launch date was 2024, factoring in two years of credit score for good conduct.
His spouse, Patti Blagojevich, additionally requested for leniency in a letter to Zagel contained in court docket paperwork filed Monday.
In her two-web page letter, she described the ache of Blagojevich’s absence and the way he has missed the graduations and piano recitals of the couple’s kids — Annie, and an older daughter, Amy.
“Please let Rod come dwelling. … Please give Annie the possibility for a standard completely satisfied childhood, that has slipped away for Amy,” she wrote. “I’m pleading with you, certainly begging you, to please be merciful.”
By means of what she mentioned had been virtually every day calls house, Patti Blagojevich wrote about how her husband has supported the household.
“Rod has been there with recommendation and a sympathetic ear for our daughters as they wrestle by way of life with a really recognizable final identify and the burden that comes with it,” she wrote.
A press release from longtime household spokesman Glenn Selig stated members of the family are anticipated to talk on the listening to. It didn’t give names.
The Chicago-primarily based seventh U.S. Circuit Court docket of Appeals final 12 months tossed convictions that tied Blagojevich’s bid to win a White House appointment for appointing somebody to Obama’s Senate seat. The three-decide panel decided that appointments-for-money swaps do break the regulation — however that trying to swap one job appointment for one more doesn’t, and that jurors weren’t correctly instructed on that time.
The judges did not say Blagojevich was essentially entitled to a decrease sentence than the one imposed on Dec. 7, 2011, given “overwhelming” proof on the remaining felonies. They mentioned a few of Zagel’s sentencing calculations had been in error, to Blagojevich’s benefit.
After the appellate courtroom’s discovering, Blagojevich appealed to the U.S. Supreme Courtroom to toss his remaining convictions, together with one for attempting to extort a kids’s hospital for a marketing campaign contribution and mendacity to the FBI. However the excessive court docket refused to listen to the longshot enchantment.
Prosecutors have urged Zagel to impose the identical 14-yr jail time period — one of many stiffest sentences for corruption in Illinois historical past. They argued that sustaining the sentence would ship a message to would-be corrupt politicians in a state the place 4 of the final 10 governors have ended up jail.
The protection has requested for a 5-yr time period, citing the dropped counts and Blagojevich’s exemplary conduct in jail. They even pointed to how Blagojevich, an Elvis Presley fan, fashioned a jail band referred to as “The Jailhouse Rockers.” The group, which had a 21-music play record, dissolved after the lead guitarist was launched.
Attorneys additionally submitted greater than one hundred letters from prisoners, a few of whom referred to Blagojevich as “The Gov.” Brash in his days as governor, prisoners portrayed him as humble and self-effacing, a voracious reader, an insightful life coach and common lecturer on all the things from the Civil Struggle to Richard Nixon.
Requires leniency have been a tricky sells to Zagel, a no-nonsense choose who berated Blagojevich on the 2011 sentencing. Zagel informed him “the material of Illinois is torn and disfigured” by his corruption and handed down a far stiffer sentence than many anticipated.
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