Federal prosecutors want former Gov. Rod Blagojevich sentenced to 14 years in prison all over again.
But Blagojevich hopes the federal judge who originally hammered him with that 14-year sentence will reconsider and give him as little as five years behind bars.
Blagojevich has already been locked up for four years in a Colorado prison. Next month, his battle to overturn his conviction could land him back in front of U.S. District Judge James Zagel for re-sentencing, after years of cries that Blagojevich was dealt too severe a punishment. The feds stood by the sentence in a sentencing memo filed just before midnight Monday, though.
“Corruption spreads unless it is deterred,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Riggs Bonamici wrote in the memo. “Public officials who gain from corrupt deals are incentivized to do more, and successes inspire other public officials to see if they can do it too.”
Blagojevich’s activities behind bars could become a focal point of his resentencing. As part of his filing Wednesday, [Blagojevich’s lawyer, Leonard Goodman] included letters from more than 100 inmates in the Littleton, Colo., prison camp describing Blagojevich as kind, a mentor and a man with the utmost respect for the law.
“To forgive and not hold resentment is not an easy thing to do,” wrote one inmate, identified by his initials F.H. “Rod has taught me that it only harms myself to be bitter about my circumstance. He has taught me that the ‘wheels of justice’ do turn, even at times if justice seems slow in coming.”
While Zagel could simply let his original sentence stand, many legal experts believe the judge will recognize the dismissal of some of the counts by shaving off some time.
Prosecutors filed their motion just a minute before the midnight deadline.