Rod Blagojevich sentencing: Ex-governor awaits his fate

Rod Blagojevich now awaits sentencing
Rod Blagojevich has said his piece. Now the impeached Illinois governor is just waiting to learn his fate, and the consensus is that it's not whether he will go to prison but for how long.

Blagojevich told U.S. District Judge James Zagel on Wednesday morning that he was not just sorry -- he was "unbelievably sorry" -- for mistakes that he said had been "terrible."

Wednesday was the second day of Blagojevich's sentencing hearing. Zagel is expected to announce soon how long Blagojevich will spend in prison for 18 corruption counts -- included among them is his attempt to sell President Obama's old Senate seat.

As reported earlier, by the close of Tuesday's sentencing hearing, it was clear that the former governor "was likely going to be hit with a stiff sentence, and his legal team had abandoned its early hope of him avoiding prison altogether."

Experts had predicted, according to the Associated Press, that Blagojevich would receive a sentence of about 10 years. The former governor had long maintained his innocence, but Tuesday his lawyers said for the first time that he was guilty of corruption and accepted the verdicts against him. Still, they said 15 to 20 years, as requested by prosecutors, was too harsh.

"Be merciful," Blagojevich's wife, Patti, wrote to U.S. District Judge James Zagel in excerpts from a letter read in court on Tuesday.

There were reports of Blagojevich's uneasiness on Wednesday as he awaited his sentencing:

Apparently, Blago is uncharacteristically uneasy. “He pulled nervously at his fingers as attorneys spoke, pausing occasionally to sip on a plastic bottle of Cherry Coke,” the Associated Press reported.

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Amy Hubbard+

Photo: Rod Blagojevich on Wednesday morning, on his way to court. Credit: Charles Rex Arbogast /Associated Press

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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