Live Blog: Rod Blagojevich Says Goodbye

Via NBC News Chicago, above is the video of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's goodbye press statement before heading off to prison at FCI Englewood (photo here) in Colorado tomorrow .

Patti is with him. The house is mobbed by media as well as onlookers and supporters. He is incredibly upbeat, Patti looks absolutely devastated.

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...]

He gave a passionate, positive and heartfelt statement. I felt like I was watching a victory speech on election night.

I said yesterday I thought he would come across as strong for the sake of his daughters, and he did. He said this was the toughest thing he's ever done, but he'll do it. It's the law.

He never once intimated he was treated unfairly. There was no "woe is me", no playing the victim card. "This is a time of adversity, but through adversity comes strength." They will get through this. Many families are going through times much harder.

He expressed his thanks and gratitude to those who supported their family throughout. He's proud of what he's accomplished as governor.

"Maybe I could have had more humility." As to the criminal case, "I take full responsibility for the things I said." He thought his actions were on the right side of the law.

He recounts the legislative achievements while he was governor, stressing medical care. He says he took on special interests.

He recounted the blessings he's had in life. He talked about how he won't be able to provide for his daughters the way his parents provided for him and he won't be able to protect them as a father should protect them.

He talked about what you say to your kids at a time like this. He said sometimes he can't even bring himself to think about where's he going tomorrow.

He thanked and praised Patti over and over. Said she's an incredible mother who has stood tall through all this.

He discussed his hope of prevailing on appeal, but you could tell he isn't banking on it, even though at the end he said "This isn't over."

He ended with "I'll see you around."

My thoughts: This was incredible to watch. The idea that we are going to imprison this man for 11 to 12 years, ripping him out of the lives of his young daughters until they are grown women is absurd.

He was found to have broken the law, he has to be sentenced. I can see making him him do some time, but not this much. Federal law requires judges to "impose a sentence sufficient, but not greater than necessary" to fulfill the purposes of sentencing. I don't see the accomplishment of any purpose in a 14 year sentence.

A good photo gallery is here and here's a summary of his statement.

Update: The themes of Blago's statement today are very similar to what he said after his sentencing in December:

"Rudyard Kipling, among the things he wrote was, 'If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same: Patti and I - and especially me -- this is a time to be strong and this is a time fight through adversity. This is a time for me to be strong for my children. To be strong for Patti. This is also a time for Patti and me to go home so we can explain to our kids, to our babies, Amy and Annie, what happened, what all this means, and where we're going from here. We're going to keep fighting on, through this adversity. We'll see you soon."

Update: FCI Englewood will be a media circus tomorrow. The local news in Denver is giving this tremendous play -- and has all week. The inmates watch TV. I wonder if part of his statement -- his comments about how he championed the poor -- wasn't aimed towards them to create a favorable impression.

A photogallery of FCI Englewood is here. You can see the whole complex, with downtown Denver in the background, about 15 miles away, here.

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    Meanwhile, back on Wall Street, (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 10:19:36 PM EST
    Wholesale theft and thievery, on a level Blago and his cronies could not imagine in their most fervid dreams, continues unfettered, unabated, and unpunished.

    thanks but please keep (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 11:23:11 PM EST
    comments in thread to Blago.

    Funny heading! (none / 0) (#8)
    by DeportRumsfeld on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 08:55:42 AM EST
    But so, so true. The REAL crooks are rocking and rolling, and Main St, is stumbling and bumbling!

    Blago is (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 12:02:26 AM EST
    a very complicated character.  He's not infrequently flat-out ridiculous, and the tapes of the wiretappec conversations are ugly, if only for the grasping aspirational fantasies.

    But then he knocks me out with some of the things he's taken a stand on publicly and his speeches/statements like this one.

    I have zero insight into the man, but given the awful things Goldman Sachs, among others, not only get away with but are spectacularly rewarded for, sending him to jail for so long for such basically trivial stuff as woofing on the phone about what he'd like to do, not what he actually did, seems insane to me.

    Yes, (none / 0) (#9)
    by DeportRumsfeld on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 08:59:10 AM EST
    He is guilty of megalomania and is quite possibly suffering from borderline personality disorder, but this "sentence" in the name of "justice" is a pure joke.

    Like a small time crook (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Edger on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 07:14:43 AM EST
    who gets caught trying to do business in a territory controlled by bigger Dons, he was squashed. It's about on the same level as firebombing or machinegunning any potential competition.

    His sentence wasn't to deter corruption. It was to deter competition.

    Regarding sentence (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by NYShooter on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 12:36:06 PM EST
    Years ago, while in the military, and as part of my training for the unit I was in, I was required to spend three days and nights in a jail cell.

    Even though I knew it was only an exercise, I can't put into words what a horrible experience that was. For weeks (months) afterwards I would wake up, shaking & sweating, relieved to the Heavens that it was my own bed I was waking up in.

    I really, really believe that every judge and prosecutor should have to undergo a similar experience, not for punitive reasons, but just to give them a tiny idea of what they would be asking defendants to suffer through. I guarantee you that all these macho, "law and order," types would have second thoughts before bandying around perspective prison terms. I get sick to my stomach when I see ostensibly normal people yelling 5 years, 10 years, 20 to life!

    Without a clue as to what torture they're demanding.

    Blago's sentence is an abomination.

    But, but... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Edger on Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 06:57:12 PM EST
    His 14 year sentence - sorry, I mean life without parole sentence - will definitely deter other politicians from corruption in the face of millions dangled in front of their noses or discretely slid across their desks in unmarked envelopes just as much as a 14 year suspended sentence would.

    Jeralyn, perhaps (none / 0) (#10)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 09:29:34 AM EST
    you should handle a sentencing appeal!

    What I Will never Understand (none / 0) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 11:39:21 AM EST
    ... is the bravado he used, it's like it never occurred to him how offensive his talk and acts would construed to other parties.  I wouldn't call it horrifying, but not far from it.

    It would be a real shame if he didn't really intend to do it, just had the need to brag that he would.  Certainly there is something going on in him, and he's so damn likeable, it's just hard for me to understand how someone can be so Jekyll & Hyde without having some sort of real issues going on.

    He deserves some time, but between the public humiliation and the undesirable future he would have on the outside, seems like 5 years would be heavy handed enough.  Especially when you compare sentences of other corrupt people, people who stole at the cost of others life savings, even the people who will be his new bunk mates will probably all be free before him.

    I wonder if the Illinois connection with Obama wasn't why he got hammered.  So the right wouldn't cry foul.  Because that would be a shame.