Sentencing Coming In October For Blagojevich

UPDATED 08/01/11 5:45 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A federal judge has set a tentative sentencing date of Oct. 6 for ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich, following his conviction on 17 corruption counts at this summer’s retrial and one count of lying to the FBI at his first trial last year.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel said Blagojevich’s sentencing hearing could last anywhere from two hours to two days, depending on the amount of evidence that the defense team presents.

The judge set a Sept. 28 hearing for prosecutors and defense attorneys to tell him how they plan to proceed at sentencing, so he’ll know how much time to set aside for the sentencing.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

Blagojevich’s attorneys said they plan to call witnesses to testify about Blagojevich’s “meritorious conduct” as governor and his personal character.

Blagojevich himself was not at Monday’s hearing, but lead defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky said the former governor will “absolutely” testify on his own behalf at his sentencing.

“He will say what he feels is in his heart and mind,” Sorosky said. “He was a good, honest governor who tried to help the people of the state of Illinois and he cared about the ordinary guy.”

Blagojevich was convicted last year of a single count of lying to the FBI, but jurors deadlocked on all other counts against him at the first trial.

At his retrial, which ended in June, the jury convicted him of 17 counts of fraud, extortion and bribery – including allegations he tried to sell or trade an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama in 2008.

Blagojevich faces a maximum of 305 years behind bars if he were to receive consecutive sentences for each individual count, but legal experts have said it is likely he’ll be sentenced to somewhere between 6 and 15 years.

Meantime, Zagel is weighing a 158-page motion for a new trial that defense attorneys filed last week, arguing that Blagojevich didn’t get a fair trial because of Zagel’s repeated rulings against him, including not allowing Blagojevich to testify that he thought his actions were legal.

Zagel said that he has only done a quick reading of the motion, but it appears that the motion doesn’t raise any new issues that weren’t also raised in earlier motions seeking a mistrial, so he does not believe he’ll need to hold a separate hearing on the latest motion before he rules.

In the motion, defense attorneys cited a litany of rulings that they claim showed the judge was biased and helped prosecutors prevent the defense from presenting an effective case. They noted that Zagel ruled against the defense and in favor of the prosecution at virtually every turn.

“The convictions were the result of a fundamentally unfair trial, at which the defense was handicapped beyond repair by the Court’s rulings in favor of the government,” Blagojevich’s lawyers wrote. “From start to finish, the retrial in this case was stacked in favor of the government and each ruling contributed to the untenable convictions.”

For example, defense attorneys wrote that a prosecutor shouldn’t have been allowed to call Blagojevich “a convicted liar” at the beginning of the government’s cross-examination when Blagojevich took the stand.

In one of the most memorable moments of the trial, lead prosecutor Reid Schar opened his cross-examination of Blagojevich by asking “Mr. Blagojevich, you are a convicted liar, correct?”

The defense’s motion said that Zagel should never have allowed the question, which was a reference to Blagojevich’s conviction of lying to the FBI at his first trial.

The motion claimed the sole intent of that question was “to prejudice the jury and improperly infer that Blagojevich must be lying about all of his substantive testimony.”

As part of its motion, the defense also presented an affidavit from Blagojevich, in which he said he only took the stand at his retrial because he believed he would be allowed to testify that he believed his actions were legal and that none of his advisers told him differently.

“Blagojevich decided to testify based on the Court‘s rulings that he would be permitted to testify to his good faith and his honest belief that what he was doing was legal,” his attorneys wrote in their motion. “Despite the fact that the Court ruled that Blagojevich could testify in this way prior to his testimony, mid-way through his direct examination, the Court pulled the rug out from under Blagojevich and prohibited him from fully testifying to his own good faith.”

Blagojevich’s attorneys claim that Zagel’s repeated rulings against Blagojevich placed “a thumb on the scale of justice” and led to his conviction on 17 of 20 charges at the second trial.

“This is not a case of overwhelming evidence of guilt. It is a case of overwhelming bias against the defense in which the playing field was so unlevel that Blagojevich never stood a chance at a fair trial,” the defense wrote.

Prosecutors have until Aug. 19 to respond to the defense’s motion.

–CBS 2 Web Producer Todd Feurer

  • dan

    rod should run for president,our whole government is bought by the rich!!

    • Charles S.

      Dan can you explain your statement? I don’t understand what your point is. It is my understanding that all of the people who are elected to congress or are the president are rich to begin with, they are very rich when the (if the ever) leave the office. The even voted a big raise for themselves, they make $174,000 each for a part time job. Pretty slick if you ask me. I guess you could be partially correct, rich people influence what the rich people, who make all the decisions, about what rich people get the government to do. Poor people just listen to all the crying and lying that happens while they decide to do nothing.

  • Joseph Estep

    Organized Crime used to be the criminal eliment now its the polititions.

    • Gregory Lewis


      • shane013a

        You got that right! I wonder if he will still draw the retirement from the office pay while in jail or when he gets out???

  • D

    The count of conviction for the first trial carries a maximum of 5 years. What legal experts do you have? He can’t get 10 years for that case even if the judge wanted to–

  • jbiller

    Seriously….just sentence him already. This is why our government is broke!! They waste so much time and money bringing criminals in and out of court. It’s a waste of time and a waste of money!! Has this been any other individual who was an unknown, he/she would have been cuffed and hauled off to jail at the end of the trial. STOP WASTING MONEY!!!

  • Charles S.

    I just can’t understand Blago. At some time in his career he had to be at least able to function in the political world enough to get people to believe his message. Did he get to high and expose his mental illness when he should have stayed in lower offices so he could blend in OR did he make the powers to be mad by running his mouth and exposing secrets and alliances between people who felt he betrayed them The later is my thought so Blago gets the clever in the head from the hit men. I think it started as a witch hunt and when the feds couldn’t get enough on Blago to really knock him out and get the results they wanted they just smeared his face in it like some idiots do when their pat pees in the floor. (By the way that is just cruelty and accomplishes nothing. The dog just gets sad because the one who is supposed to train and love him is hurting him instead. Another subject 4 later) I kind of feel sorry for the Blagojevich
    ‘s of the political world. I believe he actually had a good chance of becoming a real voice in mid western politics until he rolled over the machine in “a deep snow bank in Illinois” and got lost. Rob is obviously a likable man, he had a lot of fans and he tried to do a good job. I believe he got star struck and lost his footing then some kind of Mental disease other then Politics wrecked his mind. I hope Blago is able to get mental therapy while he’s in jail and can become self supporting when he is released. His family depends on that. I don’t think he is the terrible crook he has been depicted to be by his betrayers. I wish him good luck, he’s going to need it. Maybe a change in location, like Florida could help him get back into politics, they like crazy politicians, especially democrat crazies. I wish they could catch all the criminals who were in this deal with Blago. He did not work alone. Perhaps he has a deal with the real people who framed him and they will finance his life like they have others in the past.

    • Steven Henderson

      Delusional idiot. Wake up!!

    • Harold's cousin

      You must be a delusional Chicago dem who mistakes criminal activity for normal politics. This is a crook from WAYYYY back and even if given the max would not have BEEN PUNISHED FOR ALL THE CRIMES HE HAS COMMITTED THESE WERE THE tip ON AN ICEBERG THE REST IS BELOW THE SURFACE AND INVISIBLE TO MOST BUT WISE SAILORS KNOW OF ITS DANGER AND HOW MANY SHIPS IT HAS SANK!

  • bf2 key

    Unknown message

  • UknowwatImeanElvis

    Tic, toc, tic, toc, tic, toc, tic, toc…time is running out for Blago and he knows it! The good thing about this is Rod will be able to eat all the nuts he wants, and Patti will be able to swallow as many nuts as she wants when he gone….Justice has been served. Tell us Rod how dose it feel; to think you were a giant who people admired, when in fact all you really ever were was a very small man everyone made fun of!

  • Peggy Johnson

    someone went after him – HIGH UP – as this happens EVERY DAY in politics!! He was targeted for some reason. I happen to like the guy and I really do think he stands for the little people. You don’t think some deals were being made in D.C. these past few weeks with corporations and others to keep the wealthy corporations from paying their fair share? WAKE UP people! Our country is corrupt from the judges and prosecutors who get elected to the politicians who get paid off by corporations to make laws that only benefit them to the media that is run by all of them!

    Blago bucked the system in some way and they got rid of him. Some have their character killed and some just get killed. President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, Michael Jackson, and so many more that finally realize what Michael Jackson realized and sang about “All I want to say is they don’t really care about us!”

    And, for those that don’t UNDERSTAND how any of this is related . . … NWO!

    Why ELSE would we our “caring politicians” position the wealthy corporations to get away with paying NO TAXES while they outsource jobs, shut down manufacturing here and send overseas, close down small businesses and employ people for so little that everyone is a slave to the system.

    People are so tired in this country today from having to work and worry all the time to even survive – they are too tired to do something about all of this corruptness in our government, business, and judicial. And, that is how it all begins to work in having a country full of people afraid of their government!

    Blago serving the rest of his life in prison when Wall Street got away with wiping out thousands of people’s retirement, savings, and leaving them without a place to live? YEP – that seems fair to me! WOW!

    • Charles S.

      Yes. Peggy, I too believe Blago was targeted by someone or group who were deeper into fixing the seat Obuma had and he just got caught up in the mess and became the scape goat to save the rest. I even think Obuma could have been more deeply involved and this may be the reason Blago got the shaft. Obuma is not the sweet nice guy he is depicted to be. He is very vindictive and hard on anyone who doesn’t jump as high as would want them to. IF the truth could be known there would be a lot more dung to be shoveled in order to find the bottom of the bucket. Sure was a lot of money spent to get such a small fish into the fish bowl. I hope Blago gets a light sentence, but, I’m afraid he will be put away for a long time so the others won’t be caught. He is the whipping boy for the big dogs.

  • Rockenvelop

    Obama will pardon him as he is exiting Office this next election. He’ll write a book and then charge big bucks for speeches.

    • Charles S.

      I hope Obuma is leaving office is a prediction which will come true, ROCKE. I can’t stand this man. He is so wrong for the office and doesn’t give a care about the American public. Obuma is the worst president I can remember and I thought Jimmy Carter was it. Obuma can’t get the TV to go to a channel he clicks on. He wasted 2 and half years working on garbage that will never end up working and won’t benefit anyone in the world and ignored the economics which were the biggest problem when he took office. Obuma just doesn’t know what he is doing and is getting WORSE! I will vote for anyone who is breathing and can walk unassisted if they are the only opponent of Obuma in 2012. Joe the Plumber would be better. I hope Blago does get to write books and get rich, the government railroaded him and ruined his chances for gainful employment later. All he’s qualified for is politician and now, with criminal convictions he can’t do that. I actually believe this entire mess was a lot less serious and should have been dismissed OR the real people responsible should have been prosecuted. Blago is not the real guilty party.

      • Harold's cousin

        Blasumbovich record – Murder, GUILTY, Numbers running, GUILTY, Extortion, Guilty, Pay for play politics GUILTY AND CONVICTED got away with all the others

      • Laura

        Charles S. is a hater.

  • Latin Cool

    The time for Lady Justice to speak has come, and her voice and words should be both loud and clear enough so those listening and not listening can be awaken to the reality of justice. Let her voice drown out the sound of the guilty whose only purpose is to distort the sound of the truth; use her sword to protect and honor the fallen and the innocent so justice can be served. Her actions should remind us all that crime has no place to hide, and truth is her sole purpose. Lady Justice is blind so she can hear the truth without prejudice to color, religion, or status. Rod has been afforded all of Lady Justice’s protection and now he must face her punishment. I hope God affords Rod the strength humility, and self respect she has afforded him, and he understand her message once and for all. Justice applies to all, and no one is above Lady Justice except God, and Rod is not the exception but now the standard for which the next crooked Politian will be measured and punished. God bless America.

  • Huyamon

    Rod lives the American dream. Work hard, make lots of money, and enjoy life. We tried this at makeitfun.

  • Charles S

    LAURA: I am not a hater! I hate the Idea that OBUMA and his cohorts have almost ruined America but I am entitled to my opinion. The only comment I see that you have made is that you think I am a hater. I hate that because I an just fed up with this president not doing his job and not being able to get anything done because he hates America. He said he would fundamentally change America and idiots voted him in and he has done exactly what he promised. He has fundamentally ruined MY America. At least he keeps his word. Being angry and fed up is not the same as hating. I do not hate Obuma the man, because he is a MAN. I hate or regret or disagree with his politics, his way of doing things and his way of sympathizing with Muslims countries who are vowing to kill us all and I am not alone. PERHAPS you need to expand your view of the man instead of posting that I am a hater. I do not hate anyone, I despise and will always fight and speak out against anyone or anybody who is bent on destroying my country though. If my beliefs show I am a hater, then I guess you may be right, I was made this way by a hater of almost anything I hold dear in this country. Obama, and his political machine of socialist, progressive, communist radical left wing liberal fools. SORRY, BUT I BET I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO FEELS THIS WAY!

  • Charles S.

    LAURA, you hurt my feelings by calling me a hater. Why would you say such a thing? Why did you immediately call me a Hater? All these other people write much meaner things than I and you didn’t call them a hater. I hate no one. I hate to see America and thus American’s being dashed on the rocks of the stormy sea’s of politics. By a machine which does not care what they do to us as long as they can get by with stealing us blind. Taking our taxes and giving it to people who do not like us. I don’t care for our military heroes being in harms way when the country they are attempting to save continues to bad mouth our personnel and kill them at every turn. They can’t even trust the most trustworthy of the one’s around them for fear that they will come into work with a vest bomb on and kill a hundred or more of them. I do not like to see our tax dollars go to countries who allow the dictator and his buds split the aid money into their pockets and then let their countrymen starve to death. OR let radical extremists murder them in the name of a god who promises 52 virgins to the bomber while that leader gets rich over the spilled blood. I am not a hater Laura, I am an “idealist” who just does not understand a president not fulfilling his promises while he sympathizes with the enemies who have sworn to kill us all. I am confused at the fact that Obama has done exactly opposite from what needed to be done and followed a misguided attempt to overtake America by fundamentally changing us to a dictator nation. Obama is a socialist, Muslim sympathizer, black liberation believing, narcissistic, arrogant, vindictive, childish spoiled man who is lost from reality. It is his way or nothing.
    I can’t wait to see his total defeat in Nov. 2012. I don’t really care who beats him, just as long as Obama and his family get back to “Chitown” unharmed. I do not wish any harm to Mr.Obama or his family. Mrs. Obama and their children are innocent players in a world of mass dysfunction, a world gone crazy. The Obama ladies are beautiful and well behaved little girls who deserve to be protected by any means necessary. Even though I do not like Mr.Obama’s politics, I admire his way of being a proud and doting father, especially under the severe stress and danger of being who he is. This he does very well I can see some redeeming qualities. If he could only show this love and dedication to his office and the lives and well being of the American people he would be a hero himself. However he can’t get that right. OR at least I haven’t seen it.
    My deduction is that you called me a hater when you really meant” I hate you, Charles S. because you said something I don’t like.” Sorry, it won’t be the last time I disappoint you, if you read posting sites I visit, because I always post my honest, long winded and blunt opinions. What the hey, I am disabled because of injury and physical illness. I have no way of overcoming because, Medicare won’t pay for the Meds and treatments I need and trying to survive on Social Security Disability is harder than balancing the national budget. Especially when the government, who set up this fiasco, is trying to stop paying me the money I paid into it, BY FORCE for 40 years. Social security is NOT an entitlement. Remember that, please. Also remember I am not a hater, I am an American who would do whatever it takes to keep America and YOU Laura safe and free. I am a lover of this country, therefore I must love you too! Believe what you want.

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