Rod Blagojevich

December 7, 2011 by staff 

Rod BlagojevichRod Blagojevich, Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich told a federal court Wednesday that he made “terrible mistakes” and is “unbelievably sorry” for his crimes. His emotional statement was a dramatic departure from his insistence on his innocence since his arrest three years ago. U.S. District Judge James Zagel is preparing to sentence him for 18 felony corruption convictions.

“I am responsible,” Blagojevich said, apologizing for his actions and his earlier assertions that he was unjustly targeted by prosecutors. Before he spoke Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said in court that Blagojevich’s actions “corrupted the decision-making process” in the state and called the former governor corrupt and manipulative.

Federal prosecutors have asked the judge to sentence Blagojevich to 15 to 20 years in prison; defense lawyers have said that would be too harsh.

The court took a short recess after Blagojevich made his remarks. Zagel is expected to announce just how long he will spend behind bars when court resumes.

Blagojevich described explaining his guilty verdicts to his two young daughters and apologized to his family for the pain he has caused them.

“I have nobody to blame but myself for my stupidity,” he said.

Blagojevich ended his remarks by asking for the judge’s mercy.

In two trials, Blagojevich, a Democrat elected to two terms as governor, was found guilty of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat once occupied by Barack Obama, shaking people down in exchange for campaign contributions and lying to federal agents.

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