Lawyer Asks Judge To Endorse Blagojevich For Rehab

CHICAGO (AP) — Rod Blagojevich’s attorneys have asked to have him placed in a drug and alcohol abuse program when he starts his 14-year prison sentence for corruption, though they aren’t saying if the former Illinois governor has a problem or if it’s a legal move.

Judge James Zagel agreed Tuesday to recommend Blagojevich for the program. Neither Zagel nor Blagojevich’s attorneys detailed why he would be eligible. Blagojevich and his legal team have not publicly identified any problems with drug or alcohol abuse during the three years since his arrest in December 2008.

One attorney for Blagojevich declined to comment about the request, and other attorneys did not return phone messages.

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The request could be a move to cut time off his sentence. Prisoners in the federal Residential Drug Abuse Program generally live apart from other inmates, work fewer hours and are eligible for up to a year in reduced prison time.

Federal prison officials get the final say on whether an inmate can enter the program.

Gal Pissetzky, a veteran defense attorney who has closely followed the Blagojevich case, said he’s had many clients ask to join rehab or other programs.

“They always try to get some type of a program,” he said.

Blagojevich faces 14 years in prison after being convicted of 18 corruption related counts, including charges that he tried to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. He was also convicted of trying to shake down hospital and racetrack executives and of lying to the FBI.

Under federal prison guidelines, Blagojevich would normally have to serve 85 percent of his sentence — almost 12 years — before he could be considered for early release.

Before any inmate can enter the program, prison officials look for evidence that the inmate has problems with substance abuse, Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said. Typically, evidence of a problem before a person’s arrest — from medical records to a statement from a doctor about treatment — carries more weight than a problem reported afterward, he said.

A sentence reduction is intended as an incentive to motivate inmates to complete the program and get better, Burke said.

“We’re looking for anybody trying to game the system and trying to get that year off,” he said.

Judges usually use the results of a pre-sentence investigation — which typically includes details about any drug or alcohol use — to make a recommendation, though federal prison officials will make their own findings before a decision, Pissetzky said. Pre-sentence investigations remain under seal and are unavailable to the public.

Inmates in the drug abuse program undergo treatment classes and other requirements, Burke said.

At the request of Blagojevich’s attorneys, Zagel also agreed Tuesday to recommend Blagojevich for the low-security Englewood prison in Littleton, Colo., near Denver. About 60 inmates out of about 800 are in the Residential Drug Abuse Program, Englewood spokesman John Sell said.

Blagojevich is scheduled to report to prison March 15. Zagel on Tuesday gave Blagojevich an extra month before his sentence starts so he could help his family move into a new home.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Tom

    I’m betting it’s either crank or coke.

  • Centurion

    So what the defense is saying…is that Rod Blagojevich is a junkie! The Governor, while in office, made all his decisions while being high on something? Do those idiot lawyers expect us to believe this? If Rod is high on something..its his own ego. That Serbian ego is a dangerous thing. ALL TALK, NO ACTION! Rod is high on himself.

  • Centurion

    ROD..ROD…ROD… lie about trying to sell Baracks Senate Seat. Then you lie about who came to you with money….then you lie ..lie..and lie some more. Another time you appoint a fellow SERB as head of your security detail, within 3 months, he completely messed up everything imagineable. Then you lie to the State Police about that idiots performance, more lies….more lies. Now you want to us to believe you have an addiction to…SOMETHING. Yet another lie. HAVE YOU NO SHAME?

  • GerriA

    He is still trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the law. Please don’t fall for his BS.

  • Bob Hamilton

    He has a very serious addiction to prevarication.

    • Toonces

      Blago’s addicted to his own b.s..

  • Larry Horse's Arse Horse's Arse

    This ordeal seems like it will never end. The guy will say anything to try to get out of it. I would think some evidence would have to be presented in a petition to get into such a program. Seriously, what is the evidence? And what’s next? The get out early because the new puppy he just got is on its last legs 11 years from now?


  • Toonces

    I, for one, believe him; after all, one would have to be high on drugs to be a Democrat.

  • Jess

    there’s a reason why they are asking for the rehab placement for Blago . You have to had been higher than a kite to have done some of the stuff he did. Meanwhile, my 2+ year prediction that Blago & Ryan would be the 2012 version of ” CHICO & THE MAN ” came trough.

  • george

    i still say he is going to run before he ever goes inside…


    He may run, but he cant hide from bubba

  • LakeCountyGuy

    Nah, Blago is NO junkie. He is as somber as somber can BE. HE is just UP to his normal lying, deceiving and political angling for any “deal” that will give him perks and privileges than those around him. Even while in prison.

    For sure, he wants to be “special” … since he no longer IS in public. So now he wants the gold glove treatment in prison. This guys is such a TOTAL CROOK.

    The ONE THING Blago IS addicted to is: POWER for Himself, NO matter where.

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