Former two-term Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison today by a U.S. District Court Judge in Chicago. Prosecutors had recommended a term of 15 to 20 years, while Blogojevich’s lawyers were seeking a three-year sentence.
In June, a jury convicted Blagojevich on 18 counts, including attempting to sell President Obama’s Senate seat when he had the legal right as the state’s governor to appoint Obama’s successor. FBI wiretaps captured him saying that shopping the seat to the highest bidder was a “f—ing golden” opportunity. The tapes led to his arrest in December 2008.
Before Judge James Zagel announced the stiff sentence, the disgraced pol and former Celebrity Apprentice competitor made an appeal for mercy, admitting his guilt for the first time but claiming that he thought his illegal actions were “permissible.” “The jury decided I was guilty. I am accepting of it. I acknowledge it and I of course am unbelievably sorry for it,” he said. “I want to apologize to the people of Illinois, to the court, for the mistakes I have made … I never set out to break the law. I never set out to cross lines.”