The phrase, which fell just from what he had asked for tax, came an hour after Mr. Blagojevich apologized before the courts to the residents of their State, before the judge in his case and his family.
“I have no guilt but I my stupidity and actions, words, things I did, I thought that I could do”, said.
Mr. Blagojevich crimes carried maximum penalties that could have stretched for hundreds of years behind bars, but federal prosecutors have argued that he deserved at least 15 to 20 years in prison. The lawyers of Mr. Blagojevich sought much less, simply saying that they were advocating “lesser punishment possible.”
Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat who won two terms as Governor before being impeached and removed from Office, will become fourth Governor of Illinois in recent memory to go to jail. One of the former Governors was found guilty of offences unrelated to his time in Office, but statistics is mortifying to the residents here, even in a State known for political shenanigans.
Although Mr. Blagojevich had been marked in the past about his innocence, it was remorse in court Wednesday.
“I accept the verdict of the people, judge, I found guilty,” said later, adding “all that I can say is never wanted to hurt anyone”.
Immediate predecessor of Mr. Blagojevich, former Governor George Ryan, is now serving 6 1/2 years in a federal in Terre Haute, Indiana, prison for corruption.
Mr. Ryan, a Republican, was already embroiled in scandal when Mr. Blagojevich first ran for Governor and Mr. Blagojevich had portrayed himself as a voice for reform in the middle of so much discontent. “On the heels of a corrupt Governor and after running a campaign to put an end to ‘pay to play’, Blagojevich took over the Presidency and immediately began to conspire with others to use the Governor’s Office for their personal benefit through fraud, bribery and extortion,” prosecutors wrote in legal submissions to the judge.
But the lawyers of Mr. Blagojevich tried to present a face different, warmer and cleaner for your client. He played Mr. Blagojevich, whose wife, Patti, behind him sat in court on Tuesday, sometimes crying, as a loving man of family whose two young daughters could be crushed by his imprisonment. They suggested that while he was Governor, he was surrounded by more dominant advisers that many gave him bad advice.
They said that their policies for the State, insurance of health for the children of poor families and free train and bus rides for elderly–had been efforts to help the citizens. And compared their crimes with cases of corruption of all kinds, across the country and concluded that 15 years of prison for the crimes of Mr. Blagojevich would be out of proportion.
“Are minimally bad compared with the scandalous behaviour that demonstrated in these other cases,” said Sheldon Sorosky, one of the lawyers of the Mr. Blagojevich of his crimes.
Mr. Blagojevich was arrested in December 2008, a few weeks after the election of Mr. Obama as President and during a period when Mr. Blagojevich was mulling who choose to succeed him in the Senate.
At the time, federal authorities were secretly recording telephone calls from Mr. Blagojevich as part of a wider criminal investigation, and captured him talking in terms surprisingly crass that he might be able to achieve: campaign donations, a job they pay, a Cabinet – in exchange for his choice of a new Senator. “I have this thing and it is [expletive] gold,” said in a recording, a line which has become part of the lexicon of the State.
After a trial that ended with a jury stalled in all but one of the charges, a second jury convicted Mr. Blagojevich trial simplified and reduced this year. Declared guilty of wire fraud, attempted extortion, ask for bribes, conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to request and accept bribes; the previous jury had convicted him of lying to federal agents. In addition to the sentences for trying to take advantage of its role in the selection of a Senator, Mr. Blagojevich was found guilty of seeking campaign contributions from the leader of a pediatric hospital and the owner of a thoroughbred race track on the other hand for changes to the practices of the State.
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