Judge In Blagojevich Case Will Impose Sentence Wednesday

CHICAGO (CBS) — Even though prosecutors and defense lawyers said Friday they can make their arguments in just one day and won’t need a second day next week for convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s sentencing hearing, the judge in the case said he won’t impose a sentence on Tuesday and still plans to do that on Wednesday.

“I will not pass sentence on Tuesday — will not,” James 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.

Zagel also denied Blagojevich’s last-ditch request to vacate his verdict based for reasons including that the former governor’s lawyers weren’t allowed to tell jurors that Blagojevich didn’t know that what he was doing was illegal. Zagel said he thought that argument was “inconsequential” since Blagojevich said more than once in his testimony that he thought what he was doing was legal.

Zagel read a lengthy statement regarding Blagojevich’s case, including the ex-governor’s repeated choice to publicize his case in the news media.

Zagel said he still believes that the ex-governor’s best shot at acquittal was by taking the witness stand.

Prosecutors are asking Zagel to give Blagojevich 15 to 20 years in prison. Blagojevich’s lawyers are seeking probation for him.

Blagojevich’s defense attorney wasn’t telegraphing what his client will say next week.

“Rod Blagojevich is his own man and he will say what he feels is most appropriate,” Sheldon Sorosky told reporters outside court Friday.

CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller says defendant  beware, based on the judge’s statements.

“It was a major beating toward the defense, on what this judge said and how he said it and the way he attacked the lawyers and the defendant – even for the way he testified,” he told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire

  • Dylan

    Judges are such Prima Donnas. Just put the guy in jail and get it over with. Quit wasting my tax dollars by continuing this case. Sentencing should be a 5 minute meeting.

    “You Blago?”
    “You’re going to jail for fifteen years.”

    And we’re done. NEXT…(“Who is next on the docket? Jackson, Daley?)

  • dan

    Dylan, I completely agree

    Ex wife and her husband got into seperate legal trouble involving aggrevated battery-been grinding through court for 2.5 years-it is a complete joke-the court system is a racket that keeps a lot of people working-if they made it more efficient and expedited things they wouldn’t need so many judges, baliffs, court reporters, public defenders, clerks and the lawyers wouldn’t be getting rich off the system either.

    Ditto for child court-have my kids thank god but to get to the permanent custody point has taken over 3 years and I’m still not done.

    Toni, are you catching this? Fix this and we will have a county budget surplus

    • Jim Hamilton

      Somewhere at some point in my life i have been told ignorance of the law is no excuse. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that.

      It’s like one of the Cesspool Dwellers saying well thats how my daddy and grandpa make withdraws from the bank I didnt know it was illegal to use a gun to do it.

    • Mary

      tou are SO RIGHT, or ndoes it take so long so lawyers can make more money

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