Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison after he pleaded for leniency Wednesday, telling the judge he takes responsibility for his actions, is sorry for his crimes – which included trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat – and had made “terrible mistakes.”
“I never set out to break the law,” Blagojevich said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “The jury decided I was guilty, I am accepting of it, I acknowledge it. I am unbelievably sorry.”
Blagojevich told the court that he takes all responsibility for his actions and holds himself wholly accountable. “I have nobody to blame but myself for my stupidity and actions and the things I did and I thought I could do,” he said. “I’m not blaming anybody.”
The disgraced governor also told U.S. District Judge James Zagel that he had made “terrible mistakes.”
Blaogjevich said he did not realize he was breaking the law and thought his actions were “permissible” at the time, but acknowledged he was wrong. “I was the governor and I should have known better,” he said.
On June 27, 2011, Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 corruption-related charges presented during his retrial, including some connected to his attempt to sell an appointment to President Barack Obama’s open Senate seat. In his first trial in 2010, Blagojevich, who was forced out of office in 2009, was found guilty on one count of lying to the FBI.
Blagojevich is just the latest Illinois governor with a criminal record: Four of last nine have been convicted for crimes. Blagojevich’s predecessor former Gov. George Ryan is now serving a six-and-a-half year corruption sentence.
You agree with 14 years?