Dec 072011

CHICAGO—Former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich was sentenced today to 14 years in federal prison following his conviction at trials in 2010 and 2011 on 18 felony counts of corruption during his tenure as governor, including his effort in 2008 to illegally trade the appointment of a United States Senator in exchange for $1.5 million in campaign contributions or other personal benefits. Blagojevich was also sentenced for shaking down the chief executive of a children’s hospital for $25,000 in campaign contributions in exchange for implementing an increase to pediatric reimbursement rates; holding up the signing of a bill to benefit the Illinois horse racing industry in an attempt to illegally obtain $100,000 in campaign contributions; and lying to the FBI in 2005.

Quotes Rudyard Kipling ‘IF’ in brief remarks to the media after he’s sentenced:

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Blagojevich, who will turn 55 on Dec. 10, was ordered to surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on Feb. 16, 2012, to begin serving his sentence. The prison term is the longest-ever imposed on a former governor in the Northern District of Illinois.

“When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn, disfigured and not easily repaired,” U.S. District Judge James Zagel said in imposing the sentence after a two-day hearing. “The harm here is not measured in the value of money or property . . . the harm is the erosion of public trust in government,” he said.

The judge imposed a fine of $20,000 and two years of supervised release after incarceration. Blagojevich also must pay a special assessment of $1,800, or $100 on each count of conviction.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Zagel agreed with the government that the properly calculated advisory federal sentencing guidelines provided for a sentencing range of 30 years to life. He also agreed with the government that the range was not appropriate within the context of this case, and found an “effective” guideline range of 188 to 235 months in prison, which was proximate to the government’s recommended sentence of 15 to 20 years. The judge further reduced the range to 151 to 188 months after finding that Blagojevich accepted responsibility for his crimes at sentencing.

In sentencing papers, the government contended that “Blagojevich’s criminal activity was serious, extended, and extremely damaging.” The crimes proven at trial were not isolated incidents, but, instead, were part of an approach to public office that Blagojevich adopted from the moment he became governor after he was first elected in 2002 on the heels of gubernatorial corruption and running on a campaign to end “pay-to-play” politics.

“Blagojevich betrayed the trust and faith that Illinois voters placed in him, feeding great public frustration, cynicism and disengagement among citizens. People have the right to expect that their elected leaders will honor the oath they swear to, and this sentence shows that the justice system will stand up to protect their expectations,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Chicago FBI Office

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