Former Illinois governor Blagojevich sentenced to 14 years for corruption
The three year long legal battle of the ousted Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich against the criminal charges leveled against him saw an end with him being sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment. This is one of the instances where the court came down hard upon the accused and imposed severe penalties for corruption in a state. He was convicted for trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by the US President Barack Obama to raise campaign cash or to obtain a high-paying job. He is to start serving the prison term within 90 days and he was also ordered to pay a fine of $ 20,000.
Blagojevich had, prior to the sentencing, apologized to the state, his family and the judge before the court and had admitted that he was accountable for his actions. The Judge James Zagel acknowledged this act of Blagojevich taking responsibility although he did not consider it to grant any leniency to the former governor as he said that “When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn and disfigured and not easily repaired”.
The former governor told the court that he was accepting and acknowledging that he had committed the crimes however he told the judge that at the time he was under the impression that he was doing something that was “permissible” and that he had no intention to break the law. The apology was taken as a last resort by Blagojevich, in his final plea for mercy. Until now the former governor had persistently been pleading innocent before the court.
On the final day of sentencing, the jury convicted him on 17 of 20 counts for charges including bribery and the defense had presented the letters of his wife and daughters pleading leniency from the judge. The judge, although gave leeway to Blagojevich as he took responsibility for his actions, said that the apology will not mitigate the crimes he committed.
Report by Radhalakshmi