The Latest: Blagojevich lawyer: Supreme Court appeal likely

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Posted: Aug 09, 2016 3:04 PM
The Latest: Blagojevich lawyer: Supreme Court appeal likely

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the resentencing of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (all times local):

2 p.m.

A lawyer for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says now that a judge has declined to lighten Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence, he may again appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Defense attorney Leonard Goodman said Tuesday the decision of whether to appeal will be up to Blagojevich, adding "I don't see why he wouldn't."

The high court refused to consider Blagojevich's corruption conviction earlier this year. At the time, one argument prosecutors made against the appeal being heard was that resentencing and other legal steps needed to play out.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel refused Tuesday to lessen Blagojevich's sentence after an appeals court threw out some of the counts he was convicted of in 2011.

Blagojevich, who is being held in a prison near Denver, appeared at the hearing via video.

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1:10 p.m.

Former Illinois first lady Patti Blagojevich says she finds a federal judge's decision to uphold her husband's 14-year sentence "unusually cruel and heartless and unfair."

Patti Blagojevich spoke to reporters at Chicago federal court Tuesday afternoon after the judge's resentencing of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on corruption counts. Patti Blagojevich said she's "dumbfounded and flabbergasted" at U.S. District Judge James Zagel's "unwillingness to bestow even the smallest amount of leniency or mercy or kindness."

Blagojevich's attorneys requested a five-year sentence.

She went on to praise the couple's daughters, 20-year-old Amy and 13-year-old Annie, for making statements in court in support of their father. Patti Blagojevich said though that despite what their daughters said "the judge clearly made up his mind before it even started."

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12:35 p.m.

Rod Blagojevich's brother Robert Blagojevich says the former Illinois governor "deserves a break."

Robert Blagojevich spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon outside Chicago federal court after a judge denied Rod Blagojevich's request for a lighter sentence in his corruption case. An appeals court ordered the resentencing after dropping five of the 18 counts.

Robert Blagojevich said his brother "admitted culpability and responsibility. How much can you squeeze out of a turnip? I don't know."

Both brothers were once indicted in the federal investigation. Jurors deadlocked on charges against Robert Blagojevich, a businessman. Robert Blagojevich called it "grossly unfair" when Rod Blagojevich was initially given the 14-year sentence in 2011.

Robert Blagojevich went on to write a book about the case called "Fundraiser A."

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12:15 p.m.

A federal judge who was ordered to resentence Rod Blagojevich has decided to keep the former Illinois governor's original 14-year term on corruption counts.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel on Tuesday ignored pleas for leniency from Blagojevich's wife and daughters in making the ruling. Blagojevich's attorneys had asked for a 5-year reduced term after a federal appeals court. In making his decision Zagel said "these are serious crimes that had an impact on the people of Illinois."

The judge also said it's "an unfortunate reality" that Blagojevich's innocent family members are made to suffer the consequences.

Blagojevich appeared at the sentencing via live video from prison. He looked down briefly when the judge announce his decision but otherwise stared ahead and held a straight face.

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12:15 p.m.

A federal judge has upheld former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence on corruption charges.

The Democrat appeared via a video link Tuesday from his Colorado prison for a resentencing hearing in Chicago. It was the 59-year-old's first public appearance since he entered prison in 2012.

Blagojevich was originally sentenced in 2011, following his conviction for trying to exchange an appointment to President Barack Obama's old U.S. Senate seat for campaign cash. An appeals court later struck down five of his 18 convictions and ordered he be resentenced.

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11:55 a.m.

Prosecutors have told a federal judge that the dismissal of five counts against Rod Blagojevich in no way diminishes the seriousness of his offenses.

Representatives from the U.S. attorney's office spoke Tuesday morning at the former Illinois governor's resentencing hearing. They said Blagojevich's 14-year sentence shouldn't be reduced despite an appeals court resentencing order.

Prosecutors say Blagojevich hasn't done anything crucial to rehabilitation since he's been incarcerated in 2012. They said he has repeatedly expressed regret for his mistakes but never acknowledged criminal conduct or admitted to doing something illegal.

Prosecutors said Blagojevich's corruption in the Illinois governor's office further eroded the public's trust. They said the people of Illinois deserve better and Blagojevich deserves his original sentence.

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11:45 a.m.

Rod Blagojevich says he blames himself for the position his family is in and is working to make amends.

During a resentencing hearing Tuesday morning, Blagojevich also told a federal judge via live video feed that being in prison since 2012 has taught him humility and given him more compassion for people and the difficulties they face. He said it's brought him closer to God.

The former Illinois governor thanked the judge for the chance to have his 14-year sentence reconsidered. He ended his statements saying he is a different person now and thinks he's "become someone who has learned a lot from the mistakes I have made."

Blagojevich's attorneys have asked U.S. District Judge James Zagel to give him a five-year sentence in his corruption case.

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11:30 a.m.

Rod Blagojevich said at his resentencing hearing that he regrets "mistakes and misjudgments" he's made in the past.

Blagojevich told a Chicago federal court Tuesday morning via a live video feed from a Colorado prison that he realizes it was a mistake to have lashed out in public when he was unhappy with how past his legal proceeding were going. He spoke calmly.

The former Illinois governor said being a good father has kept him going during his 14-year prison term. His defense attorneys have asked the federal judge to lower it to five years given five of his 18 convictions were struck down.

Blagojevich said he has come to recognize that he brought what happened to him on himself. He highlighted his work with fellow inmates.

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11:15 a.m.

Rod Blagojevich started crying and wiping his eyes when his daughters took the stand at his resentencing hearing.

Blagojevich's younger daughter, 13-year-old Annie, told the judge Tuesday morning that she almost doesn't want to grow up because she wants to wait for her father to come home from prison. The former Illinois governor has been incarcerated since 2012 on corruption convictions.

Annie said she speaks to her father on the phone every night.

Twenty-year-old Amy Blagojevich told the court it's been difficult to remain close with her father. She said it's hard to talk with him about private things because strangers are always listening. She said "my dad used to be my best friend" and "he's never give up on us and we will never give up on him."

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11:05 a.m.

A defense attorney describes Rod Blagojevich as "a different man" who has made "extraordinary efforts to redeem himself" since he was incarcerated for corruption.

Attorney Leonard C. Goodman said during Blagojevich's Tuesday morning resentencing hearing that the former Illinois governor is making the effort "to make his family proud again." Blagojevich's wife Patti and daughters Amy and Anne were in court Tuesday. Blagojevich appeared via a video feed from prison.

Goodman told a federal judge who is to resentence Blagojevich that "the arrogance and anger are no longer present in this man" and he's "been a model inmate." Another Blagojevich attorney read court letters of support from Blagojevich's fellow inmates.

An appeals court ordered Blagojevich to be resentenced after striking down five of his 18 convictions.

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10:50 a.m.

Rod Blagojevich's defense attorney says the former Illinois governor's corruption case is "no longer about selling his office for personal gain."

Attorney Leonard C. Goodman told a federal judge Tuesday morning that the case the judge will resentence Blagojevich for is "significantly different." Goodman told U.S. District Judge James Zagel that counts involved with Blagojevich trying to get a job in President Barack Obama's Cabinet have been thrown out and the counts remaining deal with Blagojevich trying to earn campaign money.

Blagojevich's attorneys have asked the judge for a five-year sentence. Prosecutors say Blagojevich's 14-year sentence should stand. An appeals court ordered a resentencing after striking down five of his 18 convictions.

Blagojevich is appearing at the sentencing via a video feed from prison. He stood when the court asked for all to rise.

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10:30 a.m.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has white hair and is wearing prison-issued clothing in a video feed from prison at his resentencing hearing.

The glimpse of Blagojevich Tuesday morning is the first official look at the convicted politician since he was incarcerated in 2012. The resentencing hearing was scheduled after an appeals court struck down five of his 18 convictions.

Blagojevich still has his same full head of thick hair, but it has turned white because hair dyes aren't allowed in prison. He looks thinner and was wearing dark clothing, sitting on a chair facing the camera.

Blagojevich's defense has asked for his sentence to be reduced to five years. Prosecutors have asked the judge to leave it the same, saying he doesn't deserve leniency.

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10:25 a.m.

Rod Blagojevich's wife and two daughters have arrived at Chicago federal court ahead of the former Illinois governor's resentencing hearing.

Patti Blagojevich and daughters Amy and Anne arrived Tuesday morning at the downtown courthouse. Blagojevich has been separated from his family since he was incarcerated in 2012. Patti Blagojevich pleaded with a federal judge in court documents filed Monday, asking U.S. District Judge James Zagel for leniency on behalf of her husband.

The resentencing hearing was scheduled for Tuesday after an appeals court struck down five of his 18 convictions. The 59-year-old Democrat will appear at the hearing via a video link. The defense has asked for a 5-year term. Prosecutors want the judge to impose the same term.

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9:05 a.m.

The wife of Rod Blagojevich is asking a federal judge for leniency ahead of a ruling on whether to reduce the 14-year prison term of the former Illinois governor.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge James Zagel contained in court documents filed Monday, Patti Blagojevich wrote she is "pleading, indeed begging" that her husband be freed.

Blagojevich also recounted the milestones her husband has missed with their two daughters since being incarcerated in 2012.

A resentencing hearing is scheduled Tuesday in Chicago federal court after an appeals court struck down five of his 18 convictions. The 59-year-old Democrat will appear at the hearing via a video link.

Zagel also received a letter from Blagojevich's father-in-law, former Chicago Alderman Richard Mell.

Prosecutors want Zagel to impose the same term, saying Blagojevich doesn't deserve leniency.

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8:55 a.m.

Rod Blagojevich's Jailhouse Rockers may have disbanded but their memory lives on in the ex-Illinois governor's resentencing case.

A federal judge will decide Tuesday whether to cut Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence on 13 of 18 convictions upheld by an appellate court, including that he sought to exchange an appointment to President Barack Obama's old U.S. Senate seat for campaign cash.

The defense has asked for a five-year term, citing the dropped counts and Blagojevich's exemplary prison behavior. They even pointed to how Blagojevich, an Elvis Presley fan, formed a prison band called "The Jailhouse Rockers." The group had a 21-song play list, and Blagojevich was the lead singer.

It dissolved after the lead guitarist was released.

Blagojevich went to prison in 2012.

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1:15 a.m.

A federal judge is set to decide whether to cut the 14-year prison term given to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich after an appellate court threw out several of his corruption convictions.

A resentencing hearing is scheduled Tuesday in Chicago federal court. The 59-year-old Democrat will appear on a courtroom screen at the hearing in Chicago via a video link from his Colorado prison It will be his first public appearance since he entered prison in 2012.

Blagojevich was originally sentenced in 2011, following his conviction for trying to exchange an appointment to President Barack Obama's old U.S. Senate seat for campaign cash.

An appeals court ordered a resentencing after striking down five of his 18 convictions.