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Don’t hold your breath

Wednesday, Aug 17, 2016

* Ain’t gonna happen

Rod Blagojevich and his supporters hope President Barack Obama might consider clemency for the imprisoned former governor.

“Obama certainly has the power to commute (reduce) Blagojevich’s sentence and send him home to his family. The president has two daughters just like Blagojevich and he may have some compassion for him,” says Leonard Goodman, the defense attorney handling the former governor’s appeal of his 2011 corruption conviction.

An online petition asks Obama to grant clemency to the imprisoned former governor. It needs 100,000 signatures by Sept. 9 in order to get the White House’s attention. It has 969 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. The petition, whose creator is identified only as “A.G.,” was put on the White House’s “We the People” website. […]

“I think he deserved some kind of pardon or diminished sentence, but I don’t think there’s any likelihood that will happen. There are a lot of people out there with much more compelling problems,” says Ed Genson, Chicago’s dean of criminal defense attorneys. […]

“The focus of President Obama’s clemency attention has been on drug offenders and cases of (pardoning) people who have been long out of prison and who are dealing with the adverse effects of having a conviction,” [Margaret Love, a D.C. attorney who specializes in executive clemency issues] says, adding it would be unlikely for Obama “to do anything so unpredictable” as to pardon Blagojevich.

No way is this gonna happen. No way.

Blagojevich and Obama were never close. In fact, Rod left the 2004 Democratic National Convention in a huff because Obama was getting all the media attention. Rod saw himself as Illinois’ rising star, and he never got over the fact that Obama was the one who caught lightning in a bottle. Obama, for his part, mostly kept his distance from Blagojevich. They did share a fundraiser (Tony Rezko), but there wasn’t any other significant overlap to my recollection, so the former governor has nobody with strong Obama connections to make his case. And their families weren’t close, so Obama wouldn’t have a personal feel for their current pain.

Also, Blagojevich was initially convicted of trying to sell Obama’s US Senate seat. A commutation or pardon would be seen by many tinfoil hat types as an admission that Obama was somehow in on it.

Not to mention that US District Judge James Zagel did a pretty good job the other day of explaining why Blagojevich didn’t deserve a reduction in his sentence.

And then there’s the pathetic response to the online petition.


- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

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