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The media circus surrounding Rod Blagojevich continued today as he flew commerically to Denver and made his way to FCI Englewood.
Followed by helicopters and television news crews on the road that brought to mind the low speed chase of O.J. Simpson, Blagojevich arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. A mob of travelers took photographs on their cellphones as Blagojevich, his arms raised, stood in a body scanner before heading to down the concourse.[More..]
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I intended to live-blog his speech but it was too compelling to type through. I had to just watch. A summary is below: [More...]
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Rod Blagojevich begins his 14 year prison sentence on Thursday. At 5 pm CST today, he will hold a press conference at his home. The next morning he will fly to Colorado with his attorney, and surrender at FCI Englewood, a low security level prison outside of Denver.
There will be many saying Blagojevich got his due. I think the sentence is too harsh. He's neither violent nor a safety threat, the conviction ended his public career and ostracized him. He's broke. His daughters will grow up without a father. One day he's here, next day he's not.
FCI Englewood is pretty decent for a prison. But it's still a prison and I doubt anything can prepare him for the lack of privacy, boredom and the strict regimentation he's about to experience.[More...]
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The judge presiding over Rod Blagojevich's criminal case has agreed to recommend the Bureau of Prisons admit him to RDAP -- the residential drug and alcohol program that allows inmates who successfully complete it to cut up to a year off their prison terms.
The news is reporting he asked for drug treatment even though Blago's attorneys gave no reason for the request. Also the reports state Team Blago asked he be placed in the program when he starts his sentence.
First of all, the program is for drug and/or alcohol treatment, so there's no reason to assume the request was based on drug use. [More...]
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The judge in Rod Blagojevich's case has recommended to the Bureau of Prisons that he be designated to the low-level prison in Englewood, Colorado, outside of Denver. (BOP website for Englewood here.)
Blagojevich isn't eligible for a camp because his sentence exceeds 10 years. So a low security facility is the next best thing. Englewood is pretty decent. Lots of clients want to go there. (Here's the Commissary list.)It also has an adjacent camp which he can get to when he does qualify.
He may even find friends there. Enron's Jeffrey Skilling is serving his sentence at Englewood, and he doesn't get out until 2028.
A judge's recommendations are not binding on the Bureau of Prisons, so it's not a certainty that's where he will go. Bed space may play a role. The judge also extended Blago's surrender date until March 15, to give him more time to sell his home.
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Former Panama General Manuel Noriega served 17 years in prison in the U.S. for drugs and 2 years in France for money laundering. This weekend, at his request, he was returned to Panama to begin serving three 20 year sentences. He's now 77 and in a wheelchair.
Noriega was toppled in a US invasion of Panama in 1989. He was convicted in absentia in three homicide cases involving 11 murders, including the 1985 beheading of a doctor who threatened to reveal Noriega’s drug ties. He was also responsible for the executions of nine officers who staged a failed coup.
Here are some photos of Noriega's arrest by U.S. DEA agents in Panama. The lead take-down agent, DEA group supervisor, Rene DelaCova, pleaded guilty 1n 1994 to stealing $700,000 from drug traffickers in an unrelated case. He got a 3 year sentence. [More...]
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Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to 168 months, 14 years in prison. He will be allowed to voluntarily surrender on Feb. 16. Since there is no parole in the federal system, only good time, he'll do about 12 years.
Blagojevich told the Court this morning he was sorry and accepted that he committed crimes. He asked the court to be merciful. He spoke for 18 minutes. The Judge recessed for 20 minutes and then resumed to impose sentence. The best Twitter coverage hands-down is WCIA Steve, aka Steve Staeger. All of the following comes from him (not in order): [More...]
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The sentencing hearing of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is underway. The judge has said he won't rule until tomorrow. The best place to follow is Twitter.
This morning the parties debated the sentencing guidelines. The Judge sided with the Government, finding the criminal activity was extensive, Blago had a leadership role and he tried to get $1.5 million for the senate seat. That puts the guidelines at 30 years to life.
"It should be noted that I agree with the government and the defense for that matter that the guideline that is correctly computed for this of 30 years to life is simply not appropriate given the facts of this case."
So the Judge will grant a departure and/or variance from the guidelines, but how much? [More...]
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Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich faces sentencing tomorrow morning. The Government is seeking a 15 to 20 year sentence. In a filing today, prosecutors argued he has shown no remorse and continues to blame others for his predicament. From their filing, available on PACER:
Blagojevich repeatedly committed serious criminal acts that have done enormous damage to public confidence in Illinois government. He has refused to accept any responsibility for his criminal conduct, continues to blame others for his criminal misdeeds, and has no mitigating factors beyond those frequently found in this
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Antoin (Tony) Rezko finally faces sentencing today in Chicago. Prosecutors are asking for 11 to 15 years. Rezko is asking for time served (53 months.)
Last week I read through the initial 100 pages of sentencing pleadings filed, and summarized the arguments.
On Friday, Rezko filed another response, alleging among other things:[More...]
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Now that the last of the Chicago corruption cases related to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has concluded (with the conviction of William Cellini last week), it's finally time for Antoin (Tony) Rezko and Rod Blagojevich to learn their fate.
Today the Judge scheduled sentencing for Rod Blagojevich for December 6. The Government has not yet filed its sentencing statement. Tony Rezkco's sentencing is November 22 and the Court recently unsealed Rezko's sentencing position and ordered the Government's to be filed publicly. The Government filed its statement last Thursday, seeking 11 to 15 years for Rezko, which includes a reduction for cooperation and his harsh conditions of confinement. Rezko is seeking time served (44 months.)
I've just read through the 100 pages of pleadings. This post is long, but it contains both sides' arguments and is a lot shorter than the 100 pages filed by the parties. If you're so inclined, read through, and tell us what sentence you think Rezko should or will receive. [More..]
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Brooklyn Detective Jason Arbeeny has been convicted by the Judge at his bench trial on charges he planted drugs on innocent people. Isolated instance? Hardly.
During the trial, prosecutors described the corruption within the Police Department drug units that Detective Arbeeny worked for; one former detective, who did not know the defendant, testified that officers in those units often planted drugs on innocent people.
Arbeeny was convicted of "falsifying business records, official misconduct and offering a false instrument for filing."
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A federal judge in the Middle District of North Carolina has denied several of John Edwards' motions to dismiss the criminal charges against him. The motions were argued yesterday and the Judge asked the parties to return this morning. Asked for a statement after the hearing, Edwards said:
"What's important now is that I now get my day in court, after all these years I finally get my day in court," Edwards said. "What I know with complete and absolute certainty is I did not violate any campaign laws."
Some of the motions, according to the Judge, need to be resolved by the Jury. She did express "uncertainty" about whether venue was appropriate for some of the charges and whether legally, John Edwards could aid and abet himself. Edwards had argued that he can't be both a principal and accessory at the same time. Attorney Abbe Lowell said: [More...]
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Among the bevy of motions to dismiss filed by lawyers for John Edwards yesterday, the most interesting to the public should be the motion to dismiss for abuse of prosecutiorial discretion and prosecutorial vindictiveness.
Edwards says former U.S. Attorney George Holding, now running for Congress, investigated him searching for a crime, rather than investigating a crime and searching for the culprit. He says Holding was driven by prior animosity and conflict with Edwards and Holding's own political ambitions.
The brief supporting the motion is 32 pages, I've posted the Statement of Facts here and some of the allegations below.
The crux of the argument by Team Edwards (which now consists of Abbe Lowell, James P Clooney, III and Wade Smith -- Gregory Craig and Skadden Arps are no longer on the case) is : [More...]
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There was no holdout for "not guilty" in the retrial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. It's always interesting to get a glimpse of what goes on in the jury deliberation room, and the jurors in Blago's trial are talking.
Instead of secret votes, they used the "fist to five" method:
Secret ballots don’t show where people truly are, Wilson said, so the jurors resorted to what they called the “fist to five” method. If a juror’s fist was closed, Blagojevich was not guilty. If the juror showed five fingers, he was guilty.
“And then you have everything in between,” Wilson explained. “That led us to see openly people’s opinions of where they were in the process.”
The jurors didn't think Blagojevich was credible. They thought he was playing to them. Some of them found him personable, but thought the evidence of his guilt was overwhelming. The downside for Blago taking the stand is that if the Judge thinks he lied during his testimony, he will bump up his sentencing guidelines by two levels. Blago is free on bond until sentencing.
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