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BGA: Expect A Lengthy Sentence For Blagojevich

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Rod Blagojevich

Deposed Gov. Rod Blagojevich returns to his house after learning of his guilty verdict. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS)The Better Government Association thinks federal prosecutors will win the hefty sentence they are seeking for deposed Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports, Bob Reed, director of programming and investigations for the BGA, says the feds and others involved with the case want Blagojevich sentenced to 15 to 20 years, but not everyone feels that way.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

“Interestingly, those who were on the outside of this are more or less observers and are less involved think maybe a lower number will emerge,” he said. “It’s really going to be up to the judge.”

Reed says political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko and former Gov. George Ryan set a precedent for politically tied jail sentences, at 10 1/2 and 6 1/2 years, respectively.

Reed points out that Rezko was “involved with a lot of the shenanigans that were going on with the state government a while back,” during the time when Blagojevich was at the helm.

He says whatever sentence is given will send yet another strong message that corrupt Illinois politicians will not be tolerated, but he wonders why such behavior continues despite past precedent.

He does not believe the sentencing for Blagojevich will be delayed again, as it was to accommodate powerbroker William Cellini’s trial earlier in the fall.

Many legal observers agree that U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel will not give Blagojevich a sentence any shorter than Rezko’s.

But in their filing, Blagojevich’s attorneys pushed for a much more lenient sentence – saying guidelines should warrant no more than a 41 to 51 month prison sentence. But they will argue for probation, stating he received no monetary gain and caused no public harm as two reasons for their position.

Zagel told attorneys he would not hand down a sentence until Wednesday, even if testimony and arguments in the sentencing hearing are done on Tuesday.

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