Feds: Rod Blagojevich Could Get 30 Years To Life In Prison

UPDATED 09/15/11 10:14 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Prosecutors are estimating that convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich could get 30 years to life in prison.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, such sentences are usually reserved for convicted murderers. In this case, the 30 years to life range is only a calculation; the actual recommendation put forth by prosecutors could be somewhat different.

In a statement Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s office emphasized the difference between a calculation and a recommendation.

“The government has not recommended a sentence publicly or privately, not withstanding news reports to the contrary,” said the statement from U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman Randall Samborn. “The government has submitted a calculation of the advisory sentencing guidelines, as it is required to do in all cases.”

Samborn would not comment on the specific calculations reported by the Sun-Times.

Still, prosecutors are not pulling their proverbial punches.

Blagojevich, 54, who is now scheduled to be sentenced next month, was convicted in June on 17 counts of corruption, including charges that he schemed to sell President Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat. Blagojevich was also convicted last year of one count of making false statements to the FBI.

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The sentencing range calculation was suggested by prosecutors in a private submission to the court.

Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky tells WBBM Newsradio he has heard the reports of the prosecutors’ calculcations.

“This submission is very cruel and draconian,” he said.

Defense attorneys say they will recommend little prison time, based on the fact that Blagojevich did not take any money in the crimes for which he was convicted.

“You have to remember, this is a man who did not make a dime on this whole deal, nor did he shake anyone down, and he did whatever he was supposedly supposed to do in return for what the government said he wanted money for, and he did this without getting any of the money,” Sorosky said.

Typically, judges stay within a recommended sentencing guideline range.

But the range expected to be put forth by prosecutors is not set in stone. Judges rely heavily on recommendations put together by the U.S. Probation Department.

Zagel will have wide discretion over the former governor’s prison term, as sentencing guidelines for federal judges are advisory.

In the prosecution’s calculations, Blagojevich faces more time because he took the witness stand and allegedly lied and obstructed justice. As governor, he was also leader of an enterprise, they will argue.

The U.S. Attorney’s office had no comment.

On Thursday morning, voters seemed to be divided on the issue.

“It’s a little steep,” said James Stokes of Chicago. “I mean, I know the charges against him, but I don’t think it takes all that. I think maybe 10 years, max. It’s a little steep. I mean, look at the other politicians who did the same thing. That’s really a little steep. I think they’re reaching.”

But Robert Burriss of Monee did not agree.

“I think so, yes, that if politicians are going to be like that, they all should be prosecuted. They work with the people and they let the people down, they should be getting the maximum,” Burriss said.

Court filings involving Blagojevich’s sentencing are expected on Friday.

Blagojevich’s sentencing has been set for Oct. 6, although it may be delayed because the date convicts with the trial of Springfield power broker William Cellini, which Zagel is also hearing.

The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

  • the voice of truth

    why does our judicial system take so long to impose sentencing on a convicted felon? Something is wrong with our court system which allows justice to be put on hold. Please comment

  • Scott Young

    I hope he gets life.

  • lon

    alledgedly lied or definetly lied? 30 years to life when murderers get 5- 10 years.
    you are right something is really wrong with this judicial system. i don’t condone what he did was right-but that kind of sentencing is ridiculous. prosecution just out to make themselves look good.

  • lyndia

    I know this not going to be posted but i am going to say this: THIS MAN IS BEING RAILROADED.

    • Guilty as H***

      Are you on drugs? This guy tried to sell the senate seat, among many other scams he was working on. Blago makes Ryan look like a choir boy. The one thing that made it even worse, he went on TV repeatedly and tried to play us all as fools, almost like the smoking gun(the tapes) didn’t exist.

  • Mohammed Bin

    Attention, we will be holding a Free Rod rally at Millennium Park on the 30th of September you help is greatly needed. All interested parties should send 10.00 to the Free Rod Committee, P.O. 666 Richard Daley Plaza, 50 Washington Street, Chicago, Il 60601

  • CFLC

    30 years or life is just silly. A fair sentence is less than 10 years.

  • Linda Elsey

    Geez, if he can get that much, obummer should get fifty life sentences for selling our Country out. Where is the justice in all of this, up to 10 years sounds more appropriate

  • Linda Elsey

    Geez, if he can get that much, obummer should get fifty life sentences for selling our Country out. Where is the justice in all of this, up to 10 years sounds more appropriate.

  • Guilty as H***

    I think what you all don’t understand is if Blago had kept his mouth shut prior to the trials, or even expressed remorse for what he did, minimal sentences might be appropriate. But when you act so bold and repeatedly go on TV and radio and treat the public and the court like we’re all stupid, then the maximum penalties are more appropriate.

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