Alonzo Lon Monk Blagojevich Aide 2 Years In Prison
April 20, 2012 by staff
Alonzo Lon Monk Blagojevich Aide 2 Years In Prison, Alonzo “Lon” Monk – the law school roommate of imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich who became the governor’s first chief of staff and eventually testified against him – was sentenced Tuesday to two years in prison.
U.S. District Judge James Zagel also ordered Monk to pay a $7,500 fine for his role in the corruption scandal that brought down the disgraced ex-governor.
Federal prosecutors had recommended Zagel sentence Monk, 53, to two years in prison but asked to impose a heftier fine of $75,000.
Defense attorneys had argued that the prison sentence was excessive compared to the consequences for other figures caught up in Blagojevich’s corruption scandal. However, Zagel told prosecutors they could have successfully argued for a three-year sentence.
Zagel said Monk, owing to his long relationship with Blagojevich, “knew what kind of man the governor was” sooner than another corrupt chief of staff, John Harris, whom Zagel sentenced last week to only 10 days in prison.
Before working in his administration, Monk knew that Blagojevich exhibited “relentless persistence to get his own way,” Zagel said.
The judge also said Monk remained at his post for a long period and then became a Springfield lobbyist who was compensated “exceptionally well.” He made about $1 million in a year as a lobbyist after leaving the administration.
Under those circumstance, Zagel said, Monk’s motive was, “in some significant sense, self-serving.”
Moments before learning his punishment, Monk had stood before the judge and said, “I’m prepared to serve my sentence I’m sorry for what I’m done. I regret it and I’m looking to come back a better person, a better husband, a better father and a better friend.”
Monk’s lawyer Michael Shepard argued that the two-year sentence would be very long compared to Harris’ prison term and the sentence received by another Blagojevich aide, Joseph Cari, who is on probation and will not serve anytime behind bars.
But Assistant U.S. Atty. Chris Niewoehner said Monk spurned initial efforts by authorities who sought his cooperation in their probe.
“That makes him different from individuals like John Harris and Joe Cari,” the prosecutor said.
Monk, who was a groomsman at Blagojevich’s wedding, admitted he helped shake down a racetrack owner for a hefty campaign contribution to Blagojevich. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud and testified against Blagojevich in exchange for a recommendation from prosecutors of a two-year sentence rather than the maximum five years.
Monk was a key prosecution witness at Blagojevich’s two trials, telling jurors how he and Blagojevich tried to squeeze the racetrack owner for a $100,000 campaign contribution by threatening state action that would hurt the racing industry. Blagojevich withheld approval of legislation that the industry wanted pending the contribution.
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