(NEW YORK) — In his first public appearance since checking into a Colorado federal prison in 2012, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appeared via a video link before a federal court Tuesday, nearly eight years after being arrested on charges that made his name synonymous with government corruption.
His 14-year sentence, however, was ultimately upheld.
Blagojevich appeared before the court wearing a Navy blue prison outfit and wept when his daughters took the stand to speak on his behalf.
He apologized and told the court that he regrets “mistakes and misjudgments” he’s made in the past.
Defense attorney Melissa Matuzak read aloud excerpts of letters penned by fellow inmates on Blagojevich’s behalf.
The re-sentencing hearing of Blagojevich, which featured an attempt on the part of his defense team to reduce his 14-year sentence to five years for good behavior, represented a stark change from the defiance he showed when news of his corruption scandal first broke in 2008.
Among the causes that lead to Blagojevich’s original conviction was the charge that he sought to exchange an appointment to Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat in exchange for campaign money.
Blagojevich, a Democrat, has been a resident of the Federal Correctional Institution, Englewood, near Littleton, Colorado, since March 15 of 2012, where he is known as Inmate No. 40892-424. His date for expected release remains 2024, factoring in two years of credit for good behavior.
U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, who presided over Tuesday’s doomed appeal, was the judge who originally sentenced Blagojevich to 14 years in prison in 2011.
He issued memorably harsh words to him then that condemned the culture of corruption he oversaw as governor of the state of Illinois.
“When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn and disfigured and not easily or quickly repaired. You did that damage,” Zagel told Blagojevich in 2011.
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