Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Judge sets Blagojevich sentencing date while (almost) no one's looking

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Rod Blagojevich's sentencing date was set this afternoon by U.S. District Judge James Zagel during a hearing that was not posted on Zagel's public schedule or on the official court docket.

The courtroom gallery was empty, except for a Chicago Sun-Times reporter.

After asking if the former governor waived his appearance, Zagel noted that the only order of business was to set Blagojevich's sentencing date.

Zagel had postponed Blagojevich's original Oct. 6 date because he was also presiding over the trial of Springfield businessman William Cellini, a longtime behind-the-scenes power broker in state government.

Blagojevich's lawyer, Shelly Sorosky, said in court Monday he thought the sentencing would take two days. Sorosky said the ex-governor would testify at the hearing.

"I'm sure the defendant will be making an allocation," Sorosky told Zagel. "I think I can safely say that."

Zagel told the defense to notify prosecutors by Dec. 1 if it intended to call any witnesses.

For the prosecution's part, Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said he thinks most of the witnesses had been before the judge and they had been cross-examined at trial.

"I don't know what can be illuminated by calling more witnesses," Schar said.

The Chicago Sun-Times previously reported that federal prosecutors calculated Blagojevich's sentencing guideline range at 30 years to life. They have not made their recommendation public yet, though. On Friday, prosecutors revealed they would ask that Blagojevich fund-raiser Tony Rezko spend 11 to 15 years in prison. Rezko cooperated with the government after he was convicted in 2008 but prosecutors complained he wasn't that helpful and initially minimized his role in various schemes.

Blagojevich's defense team, which has been collecting letters in support of the former governor, has said it would ask that Blagojevich get probation for his offenses.

In June, a jury convicted Blagojevich on 17 of 20 counts.

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1 Comment

Natasha- Post Rezko verdict, I have a few questions I was wondering if you could answer.

1) In your years of covering federal court, have you ever seen a person remanded into custody right after sentencing? Could that happen to Blago?

2) If Blago is sentenced to more than ten years, does he get designated to a medium/higher security facility automatically?

3) You know this case as well as anyone, do you predict plus or minus 12 years for Blago? I realize that you might not be able to answer that, but I thought I would ask.


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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on November 7, 2011 3:13 PM.

Prosecutors: Rezko should get up to 15 years in prison. He wasn't called as witness because he repeatedly lied. was the previous entry in this blog.

Jesse Jackson Jr. returns to federal court in Chicago -- addresses #Blagojevich, ethics scrutiny is the next entry in this blog.

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