Blagojevich gets 14 years in prison for corruption
A federal judge sentenced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to 14 years in prison for corruption convictions Wednesday.
The sentence followed a dramatic apology by Blogojevich to his state, his family and the judge, in which he said he is "unbelievably sorry."
"I've had plenty of time to reflect on all that's happened," Blagojevich said. "I'm here convicted of crimes, and I am accepting of it, acknowledge it."
"It comes late," U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel said before imposing the prison sentence.
Blagojevich, a Democrat, was accused of trying to profit as he considered whom to appoint to succeed Barack Obama when he vacated his Senate seat to move to the White House.
"There is a line between routine politics, horse trading and campaign politics," Blagojevich said. "I thought they were permissible and I was mistaken."
He was convicted of corruption in June after a jury returned 17 guilty verdicts against him.
Federal prosecutors sought a sentence of 15 to 20 years, but his lawyers called that excessive and asked the judge for leniency on Tuesday, even as they admitted for the first time that crimes were committed.
"He asked for a job in return (for Obama's former U.S. Senate seat). That's all he did at first. We accept that that's a crime," Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky said, according to CNN affiliate WLS. "He did it and he should not have done it (but) that crime does not call for a 15-year jail sentence."
Defense attorney Aaron Goldstein read letters from his relatives Tuesday asking the judge to be lenient.
"Your honor, I ask you humbly -- with the life of my husband and the childhood of my daughters in your hands -- be merciful," his wife, Patti, wrote.
Their teenage daughter said: "I need my father. I need him here."
Blagojevich is the second consecutive Illinois governor convicted of corruption. Former Republican Gov. George Ryan is serving time in federal prison.