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Former Ill. Gov. Blagojevich sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption

(via Flickr/soundfromwayout)
Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich greets students at Illinois State University in 2007. Judge James Zagel sentenced him to 14 years in federal prison today for corruption.

This is a developing story - check back for updates.

Updated 12:49 p.m. with more on Judge Zagel's remarks, 1:19 p.m. with more detailed quotes, 2:01 p.m. with Blagojevich's reaction

Former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison - becoming the fourth Illinois governor in 40 years to be sent to prison.

A jury in June convicted Blagojevich of 17 of 20 corruption counts, including charges that he tried to auction off the U.S. Senate seat of President Obama. A previous jury in 2010 had convicted him of lying to the FBI.

Blagojevich spoke this morning before Judge James Zagel  handed down the sentence.

Blagojevich apologized for his crimes and asked for mercy in addressing the judge earlier Wednesday.

"I'm here convicted of crimes," Blagojevich said as he addressed Zagel before the sentencing. "The jury decided that I was guilty and I am accepting of it. I acknowledge it and, of course, am unbelievably sorry for it."

The defense also read letters from Blagojevich's wife Patti and older daughter Amy that spoke of the former governor as a dedicated and loving father and husband.

Blagojevich's attorneys had said the sentence of 15 to 20 years prosecutors wanted was too harsh.

Judge's comments

The federal judge who sentenced Rod Blagojevich to 14 years in prison said the former Illinois governor eroded public trust in government and the good he did didn't mitigate his crimes.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel sentenced Blagojevich on Wednesday after listening to the 54-year-old Democrat make a last-ditch plea for mercy.

Zagel says Blagojevich did some good things for people as governor but that he's more concerned that the former governor wanted to use his powers for himself.

Zagel says Blagojevich's crimes were especially harmful because of the position he held. Zagel said: "When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn and disfigured and not easily repaired."

Blagojevich reacts

The disgraced Blagojevich cited author Rudyard Kipling on his way through the lobby of Chicago's federal

He told reporters that this was a time to be strong, to fight adversity and to head home to his children and explain his sentence.

The usually jocular politician took no questions from reporters.



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