Former Illinois Governor Blagojevich seeks reduced prison sentence
Former two-term Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is seeking a drastically reduced sentence that would see him released from federal prison within a year after convictions in 2011 for corruption charges including extortion and wire fraud, according to U.S. court documents.
Federal prosecutors countered, recommending in documents filed just before a midnight Tuesday deadline that Blagojevich serve out his original 14-year sentence, of which he has served more than four years.
The motions come ahead of a scheduled resentencing on Aug. 9 before U.S. District Judge James Zagel after an appellate court last year vacated five of Blagojevich’s 18 criminal convictions. Prosecutors declined to retry the ex-governor on the vacated convictions.
Blagojevich, a Democrat, was the first Illinois governor to be removed from office and has been in federal prison in Colorado since 2012. The former governor was convicted on charges including seeking money in exchange for an appointment to the senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama.
His attorneys argued in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois that the flamboyant former U.S. House Representative has made efforts toward restitution, tutoring fellow prison inmates and playing in a band with a since-released inmate called the Jailhouse Rockers. They said that Blagojevich’s release from prison early would allow him to repair his relationship with his wife and two daughters.
“A sentence in the neighborhood of five years incarceration accompanied by a period of supervised release would be sufficient,” Blagojevich attorney Leonard Goodman said in a filing.
U.S. prosecutors argued that Blagojevich should serve out the entire sentence as he still does not take responsibility for his illegal actions. “(Blagojevich’s) continued insistence that he lacked intent to commit the crimes of which he was convicted further demonstrates a complete lack of acceptance,” they said.
(Reporting by Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Diane Craft)