Pam Smith – Disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to 14 years in prison on corruption charges, ending a three year ordeal for the state.
Blagojevich, who apologized for “terrible mistakes,” was convicted on 18 charges, including trying to trade the vacated Senate seat of Barack Obama for money and favors. He will serve a minimum of nearly 12 years and will report to federal prison on February 16, 2012.
“The jury didn’t believe you and neither did I,” U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel said.
Blagojevich, a Democrat who won two terms in the governor’s office, received a sentence just short of what prosecutors had sought. The region’s political leaders in both parties hailed the decision as necessary. Proponents of political reform said the sentence delivered a clear message in a state where political leaders, including the governor who immediately preceded Mr. Blagojevich, George Ryan, have a long history of corruption.
“The harm here is not measured in the value of property or money,” Judge James B. Zagel said. “The harm is the erosion of public trust in government.”