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Durbin supports reducing Blagojevich’s sentence

Monday, Jun 4, 2018

* From January of 2017

Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday that incarcerated former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence was excessive.

“I think 14 years was an outrageously long sentence. I’ll be honest with you,” Durbin told WGN Radio. “I think it should’ve been a shorter sentence.”

* So, today’s comment should probably come as no surprise

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on Monday that he would support reducing the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I think that the sentence imposed on Rod Blagojevich was definitely way too long. Fourteen years, it didn’t make sense,” Durbin said at a Chicago press conference.

“And so I’m not commenting on whether he was culpable of guilt. That was decided by the courts, but I thought the sentence was outrageous, and if there’s a way to reduce the sentence for him and his family, I would support it,” Durbin added.

Durbin’s comments come after President Trump said last week that he is considering reducing Blagojevich’s sentence.

* Tribune

Trump told reporters Thursday on Air Force One that he thought the former governor’s prison sentence was overly harsh for what he described as “a foolish statement.” The president made the comments about Blagojevich while discussing his plans to pardon conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza.

“I’ll tell you another one … there’s another one that I’m thinking about. Rod Blagojevich,” Trump said, according to a pool report. “Eighteen (sic) years in jail for being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know that many other politicians say.”

“And if you look at what he said, he said something to the effect like, ‘What do I get?’ … Stupid thing to say. But he’s sort of saying … he’s gonna make a U.S. senator, which is a very big deal,” Trump said. “If you read his statement, it was a foolish statement. There was a lot of bravado. … Plenty of other politicians have said a lot worse. He shouldn’t have been put in jail.”

Trump also referred to Blagojevich’s stint on his reality show, “The Celebrity Apprentice,” but downplayed any relationship between them, saying, “I don’t know him other than that he was on (the show) for a short period of time.”

As we’ve discussed many times before, Blagojevich didn’t just try to trade the US Senate appointment. He also held up state money for children’s healthcare until he got a large campaign contribution from a hospital executive.

* Sun-Times

It’s not the first time Durbin offered his support for a commutation of a former Illinois governor’s prison sentence. In 2008 he urged then President George W. Bush to commute the sentence of George Ryan, who was serving a six and half year sentence on corruption charges. Bush never acted on the request. […]

Blagojevich, 61, is not due out of prison until May 2024. Though an appellate court tossed five of his convictions in 2015, federal prosecutors say he remains convicted “of the same three charged shakedowns” for which he was first sentenced in 2011.

Those include his attempt to sell then-President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, to shake down the CEO of Children’s Memorial Hospital for $25,000 in campaign contributions, and to hold up a bill to benefit the racetrack industry for $100,000 in campaign contributions.

A jury also convicted Blagojevich of lying to the FBI.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 2:25 pm:

    Eric Holder said essentially the same thing last week. Lol. If Eric Holder thinks Trump should do something, Trump will instinctively do the opposite.

    I think Durbin is following the same play.

  2. - Amalia - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 2:30 pm:

    I think they are laying a mattress because they believe that Trump will let Blago out. PBlago is on Fox making her case in a way that Trump hears.

  3. - truth - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 2:43 pm:

    Durbin also wanted to let out George Ryan after only a year.

  4. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 3:05 pm:

    This is the first time I have agreed with our senior US Senator in a long time.

  5. - Rutro - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 3:06 pm:

    I think his sentence was fine. Also, Trump has proven fawning over him works, so keep it up Patti.

  6. - Perrid - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 3:06 pm:

    It does seem a bit excessive. I mean that’s the same prison time, roughly, as manslaughter. But at the same time I really don’t care how rough the man has it.

  7. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 3:14 pm:

    I’m guess I’m fine with a commutation but absolutely not with a pardon. I’d be more fine with a commutation if there had been any semblance of contrition, ever, but clearly that’s not what the target audience for this wants to hear.

  8. - Macbeth - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 3:18 pm:

    So Trump (continues) to whine about folks “lying to the FBI” and then he … well, pardons someone for lying to the FBI?

    I mean, which is it?

    Oh wait — it’s justice for some people and then … “just business” for others. I got it. Yeah.

  9. - Yiddishcowboy - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 3:20 pm:

    As 47 alluded to, I think Durbin actually is using Reverse Psychology, believing that Trump will do the opposite of what prominent Dems “want.” Not sure any Dem wants Blago out and about yapping so close to the election.

  10. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 3:24 pm:

    I thought the sentence appropriate. Contrition is absent. Keep him in.

    Politicians asking for mercy for other politicians bothers me. Makes me wonder what skeletons are in their closets.

  11. - Touré's Latte - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 4:00 pm:

    No contrition no deal, even though Trump is an expert on foolish statements. It is as if Blago still thinks he did nothing wrong.

  12. - TKMH - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 4:03 pm:

    Commuting/pardoning Blagojevich, as the expression goes, would be worse than a crime, it would be a mistake.

    Shame on Durbin and Holder for suggesting it, and shame on Trump for entertaining it. The man’s sentence is not just an indictment of his crimes (which included very clear quid pro quo’s caught on tape) but to send a clear message to all officeholders.

    It’s abominable that Trump is weighing his presidential powers to send another, far more perverted message about one officeholder in particular–himself.

  13. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    ===It is as if Blago still thinks he did nothing wrong===

    There’s no “as if” about it. He believes he did nothing wrong.

  14. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 4:15 pm:

    I thought legally if he was trying to overturn sentence because he did nothing wrong he could not very well say he did something wrong then appeal based on fact he did nothing wrong. In any event commute it and let him out for thanksgiving

  15. - @misterjayem - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 4:19 pm:

    I still suspect that Trump is just sadistically jerking the Blagos around.

    – MrJM

  16. - Sue - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 4:24 pm:

    If Blago deserved 14 years-Stuart Levine deserved life as did Rezko. Zagel hated Blago pure and simple and his sentence was patently unfair.

  17. - Hottot - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 4:32 pm:

    Regardless of whether he did anything wrong, a 14 year sentence for lying to the FBI is pretty extreme. He’s served enough. Truth be told, what he really did was make an enemy of Mike Madigan, and didn’t have the money to fight him off. Let him go.

  18. - BlueDogDem - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 4:33 pm:

    Free Blagojevich.

  19. - Boat captain - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 4:58 pm:

    He deserves every day he got.

  20. - Sue - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 5:27 pm:

    Horror- Blago is certainly guilty of more then lying to the Feds. There is little disputes about the crimes he committed which include honest service mail fraud. But his sentence shouldn’t have been 14 years. Durbin weighing in probably hurts his chances at clemency. What I can’t figure out is Trump’s interest. Giving Blago a break does nothing for Trump and I have come to believe that Trump only acts when the benefit is for him.

  21. - TKMH - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 5:55 pm:


    Pat Fitzgerald, a good friend of James Comey, led the prosecution. That’s all the justification Trump needs.

  22. - Tired - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 9:47 pm:

    Trump’s actions rarely have anything to do with anyone but Trump and his ego. In addition to TKMH’s observation, what message could he possibly be sending to former staffers and fundraisers about what he could do for them? Hmmmm…

  23. - Downstate D - Monday, Jun 4, 18 @ 10:28 pm:

    He deserves to stay where he is. I pray that the President does not release him early. What he was convicted for was and is a crime. What he did in some downstate counties withholding funds for capricious reasons after allocating them hurt many smaller communities and families of many state employees If there was an ounce of contrition in the man I’d feel different but as it stands like him due his time

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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