Has the Rod Blagojevich corruption fiasco come to an end? In possibly the worst birthday present ever, U.S. District Judge James Zagel sentenced the disgraced former governor to 14 years in prison on Wednesday, four days before his 55th birthday, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Despite Blago's last-minute plea for leniency, Zagel looked toward the lasting consequences of his crimes in determining his sentence. During a sentencing hearing, a judge will consider several factors to determine the appropriate sentence. The judge can consider factors such as if the person is a repeat offender or those injured by the crime.
"When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn and disfigured and not easily or quickly repaired," Zagel said.
Blagojevich must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence under federal sentencing rules. This means the governor will spend the next 12 years of his life in prison and won't expect to be released until 67.
Blagojevich was convicted of 18 counts of corruption charges and faced 300 years in prison for his role in attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama, among other crimes.
Most Chicagoans probably hope his recent conviction and sentence will put the whole sordid affair to rest, and, similar to Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar, will deter other politicians from following in his footsteps, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"The people have had enough," said Schar. "They've had enough of this defendant. They've had enough of those who are corrupt like him. A message must be sent ...They should have the highest expectations that their elected leaders will honor that faith the people put in them."