A federal judge who will decide the fate of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich next week told attorneys Friday that it will likely take two days for him to hand down the long-awaited sentence.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
“I will not pass sentence on Tuesday, will not,” Zagel said at a hearing Friday.
Zagel had set aside Tuesday and Wednesday for Blagojevich’s sentencing hearing.
He told Blagojevich’s lawyers they won’t need to “cram everything in” on Tuesday.
Even after the lawyers wrap up their arguments regarding sentencing, the judge said he expects to have questions for them.
Blagoejevich will reportedly address the judge before he is sentenced, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Earlier this week, federal prosecutors recommended that Blagojevich receive a 15 to 20 year prison sentence for his multiple corruption convictions. Such a lengthy prison term would be one of the longest in Illinois' sordid political history, but prosecutors said Blagojevich – convicted, among other things, of trying to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama – deserved more than two other figures now in prison.
Blagojevich's predecessor, former Gov. George Ryan, got 6 1/2 years on racketeering and fraud charges. And former Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko was sentenced last week to 10 1/2 years, minus time served, for fraud, money laundering and plotting to squeeze more than $7 million in kickbacks from companies seeking state business.
Blagojevich's attorneys said federal sentencing guidelines would suggest a sentence of 41 to 51 months. They also offered several reasons for Zagel to issue a lesser sentence than their calculation of those guidelines.
"He was and is a politician, which can cause him to be perceived as shallow and self-promoting," they said, according to the Associated Press. "However, his track record as governor reveals a genuine commitment to initiatives that benefitted the middle and lower middle class."
Zagel is not bound by federal sentencing guidelines or the recommendations of either side.
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