Rod Blagojevich Sentencing Tuesday
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
Prosecutors argue he was more culpable than Tony Rezko:
When the facts are considered, Rezko’s are significantly more mitigating and Blagojevich’s criminal conduct is substantially worse than the criminal conduct for which Rezko received a ten and a half-year sentence.
Blago and Rezko are apples and oranges. Rezko wasn't a politician. And unlike Rezko, Blago didn't make millions from criminal activity.
Blagojevich filed a 72 page sentencing memorandum. He argues he obtained no financial benefit, there was no financial harm to the public from the counts of conviction, he had no intent to break the law, he relied on advice of others, and he has a record of value-based legislative initiatives. He also says his family needs him and his co-conspirators got much lesser sentences than the Government is seeking for him.
Blago also objects to the pre-sentence report, particularly the enhancement for a leadership role, and says his correct guideline range is 41 to 51 months.
The Government says Rezko's payments to Patti Blagojevich for a faux job are a financial benefit to Rezko. That's a stretch.
Nor should Blago have to show remorse if he believes he's innocent. He still has the right to an appeal. He isn't suggesting he should receive a reduction for acceptance of responsibility.
Blago says his understanding of the law was that if there is no explicit quid pro quo between governmental action and benefit, there is no illegality.
Blago says he is an intrinsically good, kind, and decent man. He's spent 7 years under investigation and enduring two criminal trials and an impeachment. His mental and physical health have suffered.
The Blagojevich family is broke. They have no more savings, must sell their family home, and Rod will lose his pension. He's gone from public office, his reputation is ruined.
He points out that he shouldn't be sentenced based on Illinois corrupt politics in their entirety, just what he was convicted of, which occurred in 2008. He should be sentenced as "an individual, not a symbol."
I think 15 to 20 years is way too much time for Blagojevich. He's ruined. Rotting in a jail cell with no hope for the future is not in anyone's best interest. The Government has taken its pound of flesh from Blago many times over. He's out of office.
The sentencing guidelines are only the starting point. The judge should impose, as required by law, a sentence that is sufficient but not greater than necessary to achieve the goals of sentencing. I doubt tomorrow will be a good day for Blago, and it will be devastating for his wife and daughters, but I'm sending good thoughts their way regardless.
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