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Blagojevich loses again

Monday, Apr 16, 2018

* Tribune

The Supreme Court has for the second time rejected an appeal by imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of his convictions on corruption charges.

The justices did not comment Monday in letting stand the convictions and 14-year prison term that Blagojevich is serving. He’s scheduled to be released in 2024.

Blagojevich’s lawyers had wanted the high court to take up his case to make clear what constitutes illegal political fundraising. They argued that politicians are vulnerable to prosecution because the line between what’s allowed and what’s illegal is blurry.

His convictions included trying to extort a children’s hospital for contributions and seeking to trade an appointment to the Senate seat Barack Obama vacated when he was elected president for campaign cash.

* Sun-Times

His attorney, Leonard Goodman, presented the Supreme Court this time with two questions: Whether prosecutors in a case like Blagojevich’s must prove a public official made an “explicit promise or undertaking” in exchange for a campaign contribution, and whether more consideration should have been given to sentences handed down in similar cases. […]

“Our petition lays out a compelling case that the Supreme Court needs to settle the confusion among federal courts about the dividing line between campaign fundraising, something all elected officials are required to do (unless they are billionaires) and the federal crimes of extortion and bribery,” Goodman said last year.

The attorney also complained that Blagojevich’s sentence “was more than twice as long as that given any other official convicted of corruption.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Cubs in '16 - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:23 am:

    ===Our petition lays out a compelling case===

    Apparently not. And if the courts have to define extortion and bribery for someone, they shouldn’t run for public office.

  2. - Trapped in the ‘burbs - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:30 am:

    Ok, he’s guilty but he’s still doing too much time.

  3. - PJ - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:32 am:

    He deserved a solid 5 years to send a strong message about political corruption. But this sentence is absurd.

  4. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:36 am:

    Maybe they have and it isn’t public yet, but it sure seems like Rod has a chance to get a commutation at least from President Trump. I mean, they have some relationship, and maybe if someone told Trump that Pat Fitzgerald was the guy who prosecuted Rod (the same guy who prosecuted Scooter Libby), then maybe Rod could get a pardon too, out of Trump’s spite for Fitzgerald?

    Adnormal is the new normal, so why not? It doesn’t look like there are any other options. If Rod can find someone to go on Fox and Friends and say what a great idea it would be, it could actually happen.

  5. - Cocoa Dave - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:36 am:

    It’s time for Trump to commute this unjustly harsh sentence.

  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:39 am:

    The only thing wrong with the sentence is that Patty wasn’t charged as well

  7. - Huh? - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:42 am:

    The way that drumpf is handing out pardons, blago may get one too.

  8. - Hoping for Rational Thought - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:44 am:

    Good news! His sentence was fair. Light if you asked me. Blago put us on the path we continue today. The environment we have now began with Blago.00

  9. - Long time R - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:45 am:

    The guy made some stupid mistakes and yes he was convicted by a jury. However 14 year sentence is a joke. Zagel obviously had it in for Rod and his disdain for Blagojevich is very well noted. Just commute or pardon him and let’s all move on. The man has done plenty of time already

  10. - PJ - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:45 am:

    ==If Rod can find someone to go on Fox and Friends and say what a great idea it would be, it could actually happen.==

    Honest to god if someone went on that show and said “Obama really screwed Rod”, there’s a 50% chance his sentence would be commuted within weeks. What a world we live in.

  11. - Macbeth - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:47 am:

    Obama needs to tweet that Trump should not pardon Blagojevich.

    Obama does that — and then Trump will pardon Blagojevich.

  12. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:47 am:

    –If Rod can find someone to go on Fox and Friends and say what a great idea it would be, it could actually happen.–

    He has nothing to lose. Scream prosecutorial overreach, and that Zagel was a FISA judge.

  13. - Legislative Aide - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:49 am:

    I never voted for Rod, but am troubled by the Appellate Court’s ruling, which was repeated in the government’s opposition to Rod’s appeal to the Supreme Court. Illinois law while Rod was governor prohibited personal use of campaign funds, except in limited circumstances such as travel to a legislative conference. Yet, this is what the government said in their Supreme Court decision: “In discussing the contemplated appointment of Representative Jackson “in exchange for a $1.5 million ‘campaign contribution,’ ” the court of appeals explained that the term “campaign contribution” must be “put * * * in quotation marks because [petitioner] was serving his second term as Governor and had decided not to run for a third. A jury was entitled to conclude that the money was for his personal benefit rather than a campaign.” Pet. App. 9a.”

  14. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:51 am:

    ===and that Zagel was a FISA judge===

    Yes, exactly. That should do it.

  15. - Lt Guv - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:52 am:

    Good decision.

  16. - OneMan - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 9:57 am:

    Wonder if he has reached out to Trump to say “I can make Obama look bad”…

    Not that he could, but he might be able to convince Trump he can.

  17. - Tollway Blago Signs - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    Can you say Thursday, May 23, 2024…..

  18. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    The fact that there is a penalty in the Federal system for exercising your constitutional rights to a trial is absurd. If you plead out always get a lighter sentence maintain your innocence at a trial and if found guilty are penalized. Very wrong Commute his sentence I doubt he will ever be in a position to re offend

  19. - Jocko - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    “I am here convicted of crimes. I am accepting of it. I acknowledge it. And I am of course unbelievably sorry for it.”

    Six and a half years later, Blago has yet to say what “it” was. For that alone, he should stay.

  20. - Macbeth - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    “…I doubt he will ever be in a position to re offend”

    It depends what you mean by “offend”.

  21. - SSL - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 10:42 am:

    Not a Blago fan, but the sentence was too harsh. I get that he violated the public trust, but given the state of politics these days, who hasn’t?

    Trump should do the right thing and commute his sentence.

  22. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 10:44 am:

    His term is appropriate. Political corruption is not a minor crime. I do feel sympathy for his daughters.

  23. - Stones - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 11:14 am:

    Rod is responsible for the length of his sentence by the lack of contrition shown by him at the sentencing hearing. He deserves everything that he received. I just feel badly for his wife and especially his kids.

  24. - anon2 - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 11:56 am:

    The paucity of remorse has something to do with his sentence, as well as his ridiculous defense that it was a giant conspiracy of Democrats and Republicans to wrongfully remove him.

  25. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 12:01 pm:

    ==I just feel badly for his wife ==

    Kids, yes. Wife? Ha, no. She’s lucky she wasn’t prosecuted as well.

    Every family who has someone sent to prison has it tough. I’m much more sympathetic to the families not named Blagojevich, who aren’t on TV and who have much better cases that should be heard. Like the thousands of clemency petitions Blago ignored while in office.

  26. - Bogey Golfer - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 12:02 pm:

    “I am sorry for the crimes I did commit and seek the court’s understanding”. By not saying this, his ego has not, and continues to, get in the way of any leniency by the Court System.

  27. - Colin O'Scopy - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 12:30 pm:

    Commutation of sentence, yes. Pardon, no.

  28. - Frank Ambrose - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 12:48 pm:

    You have to crack some eggs to make an omlete. Blago was the first egg on the road to accountability of our elected officials. Not only should he not get a commutation or pardon, but because he has yet to express that we was wrong (guilty) after all of these appeals, he shouod serve every day of his sentance

  29. - DuPage - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 12:55 pm:

    The defense says the tapes played at trial were taken out of context, also exculpatory evidence is contained on the tapes that jury was not allowed to hear. What was the judge hiding? We need to hear the rest of the tapes. Even the guilty deserve a fair trial.

  30. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 12:56 pm:

    ===The defense says===

    The defense always says a lot of things.

  31. - Sue - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:12 pm:

    Valuable lesson here- don’t antagonize the guy handing down your sentence. Zagel obviously couldn’t stand Blago and he let it enter into his judgement. Anything longer then Rezko is on its face unreasonable

  32. - Stones - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:14 pm:

    Anonymous @ 12:01-

    While I agree that his wife is no saint I certainly don’t think her transgressions rise to the level of his. She hasn’t been accused of convicted of anything.

    The woman has to live essentially as a single parent for 14 years because of her husband’s actions. That’s why I do have some empathy for her. And no, I’m not a fan of either of the.

  33. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:18 pm:

    ==She hasn’t been accused of convicted of anything.==

    Only because of prosecutorial discretion. Her famnily was cut a break by not charging her as well.

    Again, the irony of Blago complaining about nobody hearing is appeal is rich. Tell that to the families of the thousands of pardon requests you ignored.

  34. - Stones - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:22 pm:

    Prosecutors were using Patti for leverage against Rod. She was never a target. Happens all the time.

  35. - Soapbox Derby - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 2:23 pm:

    If you forgotten what Rod thinks of you….


  36. - 37B - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 4:14 pm:


    I feel sorry for the kids.

    I don’t feel sorry for Patty Mouth.

    14 years is harsh. But not too harsh. He showed no remorse. He antagonized the sentencing judge. And, in my mind at least, worst of all, he extorted a children’s hospital. A children’s hospital for crying out loud. “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Joseph N. Welch.

    He’s got 14 years to develop a sense of decency.

    That seems about right.

  37. - Ron - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 5:24 pm:

    Such a waste of public resources. Blags should never have gone to prison.

  38. - Tollway Blago Signs - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 5:46 pm:

  39. - Just Me - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 10:51 pm:

    It is ironic that Blago’s last hope is a pardon, which is something he refused to do as Governor.

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