Rod Blagojevich, the ousted Illinois governor whose three-year battle against criminal charges became a national spectacle, was sentenced to 14 years in prison Wednesday, one of the stiffest penalties imposed for corruption in a state with a history of crooked politics.I defended Blago here and here. It took two juries to convict him, and he is being punished, in part, for testifying in his defense.
Blagojevich's 18 convictions included allegations of trying to leverage his power to appoint someone to President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat to raise campaign cash or land a high-paying job....
But the judge made it clear early in the hearing that he believed that Blagojevich had lied on the witness stand when he tried to explain his scheming for the Senate seat, ...
It took two trials for prosecutors to snare Blagojevich on sweeping corruption charges. His first ended deadlocked with jurors agreeing on just one of 24 counts that Blagojevich lied to the FBI. Jurors at his retrial convicted him on 17 of 20 counts, including bribery and attempted extortion.
FBI wiretap evidence proved decisive. In the most notorious recording, Blagojevich is heard crowing that his chance to name someone to Obama's seat was "f---ing golden" and he wouldn't let it go "for f---ing nothing."
The prosecution was political. His fellow Democrats hated him for refusing to raise taxes. There was no objective evidence of corruption, such as a suitcase full of cash. If he were really corrupt, then they could have just offered him the money for the senate seat, and see if he accepts it. But they never caught him actually taking any bribes, or having unexplained bank accounts. Those quotes above are very weak evidence.
Here is a video of the Blago story.