CHICAGO (CBS) — A former chief of staff for deposed Gov. Rod Blagojevich will report to jail next week.
As WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports, John Harris is set to serve a sentence of 10 days, which is believed to be the shortest prison term ever for a public corruption conviction in Chicago.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports
Harris pleaded guilty in 2010 to conspiracy to commit bribery and faced up to five years behind bars. He had been seeking probation, but in March was given a sentence of 10 days in jail, two years of supervised release and a $1,000 fine.
Harris was close to the activity of Blagojevich’s office, but U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel believes Harris was in a difficult position, managed by a headstrong governor and essentially caught in the resulting undertow of corruption.
Harris began cooperating with federal prosecutors within days of his arrest and agreed to testify against Blagojevich, providing the bulk of the testimony against the former governor. Harris was sentenced less than two weeks after Blagojevich began serving his prison term.
At the sentencing hearing, Zagel praised Harris for his cooperation with investigators and said that he sympathized with Harris having to deal with such a difficult boss as Blagojevich. But while heaping praise on Harris, the judge said that some, but minimal, time behind bars was necessary.
“The offense is so serious and so crucial that I cannot impose upon you a sentence that does not involve custody,” Zagel said.
Harris’ attorney, Terry Ekl, says his client will enter the McHenry County Jail on Tuesday.
Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison sentence at the FCI Englewood prison in Littleton, Colo.
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