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What happens next?

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2011

* Funny, but not quite true

Now the greedy governor faces up to 300 years in prison — longer than the life spans of Kipling, Tennyson and Elvis combined.

* More likely

According to the Associated Press, the convictions carry a combined maximum prison sentence of around 300 years, but legal experts say a federal judge is likely to send him away for around a decade, give or take a few years.

But Blagojevich, when sentenced later this year, could be awarded 10 to 15 years in jail, according to other legal experts.

* Also plausible

“Somewhere between six and 11 years. The sentencing guidelines by the United States Sentencing Commission have a mathematical formula. You punch in who he is, what he did, whether drugs were involved-which they weren’t - weapons, etc. and it gives you a range the judge will be able to sentence him. I think it will be a range somewhere between six and seven on the bottom and 11 on the top,” said Prof. Richard Kling, Kent College of Law.

George Ryan got 6 and a half years.

A status hearing is set for August 11th. A sentencing hearing schedule could be set then.

* The Trib lays it out

Before Blagojevich is sentenced, a probation officer using federal sentencing guidelines will calculate the range of punishment faced by Blagojevich. Then prosecutors and Blagojevich’s lawyers will argue about why more time should be added or shaved off.

Since the sentencing guidelines were made advisory and not mandatory about six years ago, Zagel has wide discretion to impose the sentence he thinks is just and fair.

“It’s the essential judgment call,” said former federal prosecutor Dean Polales, who is now a criminal-defense attorney. “The burden is entirely on him.”

Among the factors to be weighed are criminal history, the nature and circumstance of the offense, and the need for deterrence. Judges often also consider family circumstances.

The government will be certain to raise Blagojevich’s breach of the public trust as well as the pervasive culture of corruption that swirled around his administration, Loeb said.

And if he continues to insist he’s innocent? Bad things will happen come sentencing time. Remorseless convicts are rarely given a judicial break.

Also, just think of the deterrence factor if he did get 300 years. That’d make folks think twice, I’d wager.

* But, first, there’s the matter of his bond

Convicted of 18 felonies, including the lying charge from a year ago, Blagojevich will be required to post additional bond to remain free. He is likely to put up the remaining equity he has in his Ravenswood home and a half-million dollar condo in Washington. Details will be worked out within the next week at a meeting between his attorneys and prosecutors.

“There’ll be some paperwork that needs to be filled out in terms of his ability to post those things in a forfeiture agreement that he’ll sign and they’ll secure his bond,” said Reid Schar, assistant U.S. Attorney.

There are the post trial motions due four weeks from Monday on July 25. Among them: whether a Blagojevich request to remain free on bond as his appeal is considered. He would have to show a compelling reason that his appeal is likely to succeed, a standard difficult to meet. It didn’t succeed for ex-governor George Ryan.

* And then the appeal itself

Blagojevich lawyers will argue the conviction should be reversed because the ex-governor wasn’t allowed to play certain tapes.

His first attorney, Sam Adam Jr., is likely to help prepare the appeal that could take months.

“He was not able to corroborate his own innocence with the tapes that we know and that they wanted to put in that show he was not committing a crime. I think we’ll see that in the Seventh Circuit, I think we’ll see that on the appeal, and I think he’ll end up vindicated,” said Adams Jr.

* Scott Fawell, speaking from experience, offers some sound advice

Rod will face a different world once he starts prison life. The clothes he wears, his living quarters, his roommates and the food he eats will be decided not by him, but by the Bureau of Prisons . He won’t be Gov. Blagojevich to the prison guards. He’ll be a prisoner with a prison registration number that ends with 424, the “Chicago” designation. His every movement will be limited and watched at all times by the guards and security cameras. He will be given a job earning 12 cents an hour working in the kitchen, as an orderly or on the prison landscaping crew. His communications with loved ones will be limited. He will be allowed 300 phone minutes a month to call home. Three hundred minutes, which averages out to 10 minutes a day. Barely time to say hello, and certainly not enough time to hear about the kids’ school play or deal with even the smallest family crisis. Those matters must wait for visiting day, which may be only one or two weekends a month. Not a lot of time to stay connected.

Daily prison life can be made easier or more difficult depending on your attitude and demeanor. Follow the rules, don’t rock the boat, be respectful of the staff and your life can be bearable. Be arrogant, obnoxious and disrespectful, and the guards and staff can and will make your life a living hell. This is not an environment where independent thought, discussion or actions are encouraged. It’s the BOP’s game, on its court, playing by its rules. You learn quickly to play ball or you pay a price. I was given this piece of advice by an old friend who had been in federal prison: “Check your ego and personality at the door when you check in, and pick them back up on the way out.” It was sound advice. […]

It’s essential that you stay mentally strong. You can make the time bearable or you can let it eat away at you. It’s really only up to you. While I can’t say prison wasn’t difficult and certainly challenging at times, I can say prison is not the end. Rod, here’s some unsolicited advice. Go serve your time quietly, get out and then just move on with your life.

I just can’t see him doing that.

…Adding… I agree with Betty

When Betty Loren-Maltese caught glimpses of Rod Blagojevich preening for the cameras during his corruption trial last year, one thought kept coming back to her: This guy is not ready for prison.

Loren-Maltese, the former town president of Cicero, is an expert on the subject. After being convicted in 2002 of helping bilk her town out of $12 million, she spent seven years in federal custody before gaining her freedom last year.

Though she thinks Blagojevich toned down his celebrity act during the second trial, Loren-Maltese still wonders how he’ll adjust to the stark, often humiliating existence behind bars.

“Most people have a fixed opinion of politicians,” she said. “A lot of prisoners feel (politicians) might even be responsible for them being in prison. I don’t think it’ll be easy for him, but it’ll definitely change his attitude and make him realize he’s not the king.”

* Related…

* Prison wouldn’t mean end of locks for Blagojevich

* Blagojevich likely to lose state pension, keep federal perk: Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich stands to lose a $65,000-a-year state pension as a felon, but he’s likely to be eligible for $15,000 a year in federal retirement pay for his time as a congressman. The defrocked Democrat also would be eligible for a refund of about $128,000 in personal contributions he made to the state’s retirement fund.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Louis Howe - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 8:05 am:

    Rod is about to pay a heavy price for being a goof-off.

  2. - Shore - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 8:10 am:

    It’s really hard to believe a guy who has stood at the top of illinois politics on tvs every night for 10 years is going to dissapear off the face of the earth for 10 years now and won’t be seen again until his mid 60’s when his locks will be gray or white.

    just unreal that in a few months he’ll be completely gone after all these years of all this nonstop coverage.

  3. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 8:36 am:

    Blagojevich is a criminally incompetent twice nominated and twice elected Democratic governor. He was the first Democrat elected since since Dan Walker who was also jailed. Walker was the first Democrat elected since Otto Kerner who was also jailed.

    Nice track record!

    Strike three but they are not out.

  4. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 8:41 am:

    C’mon, VMan, you know better than that. Political crime is bipartisan here. Off the top of my head comes GRyan, attorney general Bill Scott, Lee Daniels’ chief of staff, Orville Hodge, etc.

  5. - @ all - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 8:45 am:

    ==Also, just think of the deterrence factor if he did get 300 years. That’d make folks think twice, I’d wager.==

    You are right about that Rich. Actually, the way the sentences can run concurrent gives criminals the cover to go ahead and commit a series of crimes all at once. If caught and all the crimes are of a similar nature, the pentalies all get balled up in one sentence timeframe. That’s an incentive to commit multiple crimes, as long as your at it. I like the idea of running them consecutively!

  6. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 8:45 am:

    When blame and failure is presented as bipartisan, nothing changes.

  7. - Justice - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 8:49 am:

    This goofball adversely affected the lives of many, many good, hardworking, and dedicated State workers by orchestrating the fear and intimidation tactics of his hack staff. Now he will be the benefactor of the peoples ire and punishment for his callous actions.

    One can only hope that the Feds will continue their task and hunt down those willingly carrying out Blagoof’s wishes.

  8. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 8:51 am:

    When blame and failure are presented as partisan when they’re actually bipartisan, you’re not telling the truth.

  9. - aaronsinger - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:02 am:

    maybe vman, just maybe, lord acton was right and power corrupts. it makes no silly preferences for party or factions. to do so is to merely attempt at scoring cheap political points for one’s side, obfuscating a larger issue.

  10. - Jeff - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:03 am:

    Obstruction of Justice, Abuse of Public Trust, Leadership Role in Conspiracy… lots of enhancements for Zagel to look at. I’m also not sure what the dollar amount will be when they’re looking at losses. He never actually received anything, and I don’t recall whether there was a specific amount mentioned in the charges.

  11. - Secret Square - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:05 am:

    A 300 year sentence would have to include time served in purgatory, or reincarnated into a lower life form, or haunting the governor’s mansion.

  12. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:11 am:

    I truly do believe that the threat of severe punishment - say, life in prison or something close (20-25 years) - would be a great deterrent to stop future Blagos, Ryans, Fawells, etc. At the federal level, most scandals taking shape are of the personal/perverted nature (Chris Lee, Anthony Weiner). When Congressmen and their pals saw what happened to Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham and Jack Abramoff, I think they got scared. The punishments meted out to someone like Abramoff are real: years in prison and bankruptcy. If Illinois pols see Blago serving time until he is 70 while missing his kids’ high school and college graduations - while also facing financial ruin - it would hopefully make them all think twice about committing acts of corruption.

  13. - Jeff - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:19 am:

    I definitely agree that this is the worst possible time and the worst possible judge for Blago to be facing. Anything you’re not supposed to do, he did. Testified, made a circus of the case in the media, called the government liars, etc. I’m not saying I don’t agree with some of his comments, but I can’t see Zagel being generous with him.

  14. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:23 am:

    I agree with Team Sleep…he ran the State debt up at least 5 billion dollars with his largesse…keep him in jail at least 20 years…

  15. - Jake From Elwood - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:30 am:

    Fawell’s insight is interesting. Rod is not likely to succeed in this environment. Why do I picture him asking the BoJ to perform “Jailhouse Rock” for the other prisoners?

  16. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:32 am:

    Illinois government corruption has been presented as a bipartisan problem voters cannot solve. That is not true. Voters can keep changing parties until the parties are tired of the switching. Keep sweeping. Expecting he players to change the game they keep winning is insane.

  17. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:35 am:

    I wouldn’t give him more years than George Ryan, a guy’s whose corruption and cover up led to six kids being burned to death on a Wisconsin highway. Yes, I know Ryan was not charged or convicted for those deaths, but that tragedy defines Ryan’s administration and it underlied everything.

  18. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:39 am:

    Reform threats do not seem to work. Voting them out si better. Keep encouraging voters to throw incumbents out. Keep flushing. In our situation hope is better than the truth. The truth is hopeless. Hopelessness is bipartisan. Give voters hope.

  19. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:40 am:

    I don’t think he’ll do well in prison, any more than Ryan has. He will continue to play the victim card, supported by his family, the true victims here, along with the citizens of Illinois. I can’t see him receiving less than 10, possibly 15 years.

  20. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:45 am:

    Anyone who believes corruption isn’t bipartisan hasn’t reviewed their history very well. If this was true, why do both parties fight to keep ethic reforms out of politics, no matter which side is in power?

  21. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 9:47 am:

    While Rod should get more (20-30), I think Judge Zagel bend over backwards to be fair and give a maximum of 15. Anything more and the judge will be adding fuel to the bias / vindictiveness charges Blago’s lawyers will allege on appeal.

  22. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:06 am:

    Isn’t it great we have all these formerly incarcerated public officials to turn to when we need experts telling us what Rod should expect?


  23. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:08 am:

    Moving this here per Rich’s request:

    If Blago faces a maximum of up to 300 years behind bars, why are we hearing people assuming 8-10 years as a sentence, with most leaning towards 8 years? He’s shown no remorse, both he and his lawyers attempted to manipulate the courts and taint the jury pool on many occasions, and his actions over 8 years as governor contributed greatly to the misery that the citizens of Illinois are facing today.

    You can hear in the tapes when he knew his conversations might be being taped that he struggled, and hesitated at many points trying to get his directions to his underlings without actually saying “here’s what I want you to do”. To say he believes he did nothing wrong is just not believable.

    While I do believe defense lawyers need to press the court and do everything they can to help their client, they went way too far. Essentially the Adams succeeded in putting on a defense during the prosecution’s presentation of evidence in the first trial, and Judge Zagel was not going to allow that to occur in the second trial. His lawyers claimed bias on the part of the judge at that point, and I’m sure that will serve as a part of the basis for his inevitable appeal. The defense was essentially pushed to put him on the stand to see if his ability to gladhand people would sway at least one member of the jury to ignore the evidence and cause them to hang on the counts. Thankfully, that didn’t happen this time, even though they were successful in stacking the jury with what the defense thought would be sympathetic females.

    So, even though it’s too late for me to make a long story short, I think a minimum sentence of 20-25 years would send a clear message to politicians that you’re not going to get a slap on the wrist if you abuse the people’s trust and use your office for personal gain.

    I think he needs to see at least 15 years in the pen taking into consideration good behavior sentencing reductions and the 85% of the sentence norm for federal felons (thanks for the facts Obamarama).

  24. - Joe - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:20 am:

    I think it would be appropriate that at least part of his sentence be served as house arrest in the governor’s mansion.

  25. - D.P. Gumby - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:36 am:

    It’s rather disingenuous to continue including Walker in the list of “Governors” who went to prison since his conduct did not involve anything while he was Governor. If he is included then we should include everyone who was ever convicted of any crime and ever held a public office regardless of when the crime occurred. Just sayin’

  26. - Esquire - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:36 am:

    My guess is eight years.

  27. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:38 am:

    –When blame and failure is presented as bipartisan, nothing changes–

    Those are words, and they are strung together (verb tense?), but do they communicate a cogent thought?

    Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

  28. - Excessively Rabid - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:39 am:

    Re: the partisan/bi-partisan corruption issue, Brady was no bargain but I do think it would have been better to not have all three branches of state government in one party’s hands any longer. Just because both sides are dirty doesn’t mean they have the same dirty interests. A little balance can help protect the public interest.

  29. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:40 am:

    Rich, I know this is mean, but can a future QOTD be how many days will Rod be in jail before one of his fellow inmates punches his lights out?
    I will understand completely if you delete this, but just couldn’t stop myself…

  30. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:44 am:

    Quick Aside — did anyone else catch Sheldon Sorosky’s cryptic comment about Shirley Madigan yesterday as he was leaving Blago’s home? Any explanation?

    As for the sentence, I think Rod’s likely to get just shy of the maximum under the guidelines.

    If trading the President’s senate seat for $1 million isn’t a highwater mark in public corruption, what is?

    Add to that the complete and utter lack of remorse.

    George Ryan maintained his innocence, but he didn’t do it on talk radio. Or with a book deal.

  31. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:48 am:

    I thought they were up to their eyeballs in debt on the Washington property and the house in Chicago. If so there might not be much there for bail, I suppose the Mells might be able to help out some.

  32. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 11:08 am:

    Loop, you reminded me of “Shawshank Redemption” when Red wonders who won’t make it his first night.

  33. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 11:09 am:

    I expect to see Rod on Lockup with his hustle being a jailhouse Bookie.

  34. - Cook County Commoner - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 11:22 am:

    Any chance the Ryan and Blago would be doing time concurrently in the federal system? When is Ryan scheduled for release or possible parole? Could Blago forego an appeal or just start serving his sentence during the appeal? Illinois is so short of accomplishments. But having back-to-back governors from each major party doing time for corruption in office deserves to somehow be chiseled into the state’s testament to its values.

  35. - Joe from Joliet - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 11:24 am:

    Rod will be hoping the prison barber does not have a disabled child or a parent in Illinois who needed a care-giver during his term. If so, he could become qualified to join the prison blues band as the harp player -

    Cleanhead Rod, blowin’ sad.

  36. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 11:27 am:

    I’ll go with 8 years and an attorney group constantly looking for reasons to get him released. His mouth will not stop until the new reality really sets in and the cognitive dissonance smack is going to be huge.

  37. - Way Way Down Here - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 11:34 am:

    Only in Illinois headline from the Trib: “Ex-con politicians say Rod Blagojevich is not ready for prison.”

  38. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 11:34 am:

    I would hope for the lower end of the sentencing range, simply due to the cost of keeping him incarcerated.

    The crime spree was stopped, he no longer has the power to bilk the taxpayers any more and will likely never be a public official again. Get him off the public’s dollar sooner than later.

  39. - Chefjeff - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 12:12 pm:

    I feel sorry for his children. I feel sorry for Ryan in his time of grief. Finally, I feel sorry for Illinois, and it’s citizens who deserve a better government than they elected.

  40. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 12:14 pm:

    We could have him stay with you under house arrest, Pluto? Maybe give you a little stipend for the food…That’l not only save you money, you’ll make some too.

  41. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 12:14 pm:

    I don’t think he should do more than ten years or less that six. Less time would be an insult. More would be a waste of our taxes.

    I wonder if he could be offered six years if he promises, right NOW, to drop all rights to appeal his convictions? Failing to do so would result in 10 or more years. Offer him that. If he takes it we won’t have to listen to him for 6 years. That would be a blessing.

  42. - Pantry Weevil - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 12:22 pm:

    He’s going to have tough time with no bathroom to hide in.

  43. - Little Egypt - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 12:23 pm:

    Rod didn’t waste any time playing to the judge’s sympathy when he said on camera yesterday something to the effect of “I need to get home to my “little girls”……. He will use them again as a human shield when he makes his plea for mercy on sentencing day. I would suggest to Rod that his “plea” be in the form of the written word and be heavily edited. If he hasn’t learned but one thing, I hope it’s that he should keep his mouth shut.

  44. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 12:31 pm:

    He’s still playing up the children…

    Today’s quote from Blagojevich:

    “And so, one of the things that motivates me and had motivated me and continues to motivate me — and Patti — is to try to show our kids that, as tough as things can get sometimes and as unfair as you think things might be, you just keep doing the best you can in dealing with the adversity…Through that adversity and hardship can come good things.”

    Still playing the innocent victim…,0,5062917.story

  45. - Hunterdon - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 1:07 pm:

    In the near future, Rod might receive a carton of smokes from Patti on one of her prison visits - I can visualize Rod sitting on his bunk in his cell, with the smokes in hand, telling his cell mate “Bubba, I got this thing here, and it’s bleeping golden - I’m not gonna just give it away for nothing!”

  46. - Cranky Old Man - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 1:37 pm:

    YDD, ===Quick Aside — did anyone else catch Sheldon Sorosky’s cryptic comment about Shirley Madigan yesterday as he was leaving Blago’s home? Any explanation?=== I missed that. What was said? Thanks.

  47. - Farker - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 1:47 pm:

    Joe @10:20

    Well played sir lol

  48. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 1:52 pm:

    We could have him stay with you under house arrest…..

    Great, I can charge admission can’t I? Ill even split it with you if you come over to babysit on weekends…..

    My point was to argue against the longest possible sentence because it is simply a waste of money to lock him up and throw away the key.

  49. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 2:12 pm:

    Do they let you die your hair in prison? I often wonder-sometimes for hours in a day-whether Rod is all natural. Will we find out?

  50. - x ace - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 2:31 pm:

    “sound advice” from Scott Fawell ? Ain’t that what helped land George in prison ? Fawell as a commentator to the media is another sell out and a joke.

  51. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 3:20 pm:

    ===Fawell as a commentator to the media is another sell out and a joke.===

    Meh. He did his time and paid his debt.

  52. - Meanderthal - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 3:34 pm:

    Corruption in this state has been on both sides of the aisle, but Republicans always pay a heavier price for it.

  53. - Been There - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 3:38 pm:

    ======Fawell as a commentator to the media is another sell out and a joke.===
    ===Meh. He did his time and paid his debt.===
    Come on x ace. He is giving advice on being in prison. Not on running the state. Who else do you ask about life in prison? Maybe a prison guard but that will be their viewpoint, not someone who lived behind the bars.

  54. - 32nd Ward Roscoe Village - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 4:20 pm:

    Regarding length of sentence and it acting as a deterrent, see article in today’s NYTimes on how the judge in Madoff case came to the decision to sentence to 150 years:

  55. - Loving It - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 4:34 pm:

    Rod Blagojevich is way more corrupt than George Ryan. It will take Illinois that long to dig it’s way out of the damage Rod’s done to the state and it’s inhabitants.
    I vote for the upper end - 11 years. And it’s still not enough.

  56. - mokenavince - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:06 pm:

    Blago was a plight on the people and the state. The voters of our state must do their homework,
    we are the blame for voting for the bum’s we elect.Jailing Blago is just the simpton not he cure.
    It’s up to us to remedy it,

  57. - wishbone - Tuesday, Jun 28, 11 @ 10:34 pm:

    If the Republicans would just nominate a fiscal conservative who wasn’t a religious fruitcake I would be very tempted to vote for him/her. My biggest problem with Blago or our current Gov. Sunshine is that neither seem to understand the peril of our unbalanced budget.

  58. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 29, 11 @ 9:04 am:

    @Cranky Old Man -

    While getting into his car to leave Blago’s home, Sorosky said:

    “We discussed interesting…’comments’…from Mrs. Madigan.”

    I assumed he meant Shirley, since Lisa Madigan ain’t a “Mrs.”, but perhaps he misspoke?

  59. - Macoupin Observer - Wednesday, Jun 29, 11 @ 10:10 pm:

    Perhaps Ms. Madigan is looking to pick up on the “endemic hiring fraud” issue that she backed off on previously due to Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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