Feds: No 30-year sentence suggestion for Blago

September 15, 2011 8:22:57 AM PDT
Despite earlier reports, federal prosecutors say they have not recommended a sentence for former governor Rod Blagojevich.

Back in July, Blagojevich, 54, was found guilty in 17 counts of corruption, including charges that he tried to sell President Obama's former Senate seat.

On Wednesday, sources told ABC7 that prosecutors would seek a sentence of 30 years to life for Blagojevich. According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office, however, no sentence has been recommended.

"The government has not recommended a sentence publicly or privately, not withstanding news reports to the contrary," said U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Randall Samborn in the statment. "The government has submitted a calculation of the advisory sentencing guidelines, as it is required to do in all cases. The sentencing guideline formulas are established by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The government submitted that calculation to the probation office as is standard practice and we will not comment on those calculations publicly."

If a 30-year sentence were recommended, experts agree that Blagojevich probably wouldn't be spending three decades in jail.

"Is anybody going to ask for that much time? That could be overkill and backfire. I think you will hear them say this is a state plagued by corruption," said Patrick Collins, former federal prosecutor.

A 30-year sentence is five times more than what former governor George Ryan got -- he is now serving a six-year sentence. Collins, who prosecuted Ryan, says the government always tried to send a message at sentencing.

"In the George Ryan case, for example, when we did our calculations, we came up with 12 or 13 or 14 years. The judge gave him 6 and a 1/2. Not to say that is the ratio that will hold here, but everybody should understand this is the starting point. The government will clearly be on the aggressive side," said Collins.

A three-decade sentence is also more than three times longer than former Cicero town president Betty Loren Maltese served; longer than former Congressman Mel Reynolds got for having sex with a 16-year-old campaign worker; and longer even than some murderers face.

"What the governor was convicted of was not nice stuff but there's series the judge will take in to consideration. Based on those guidelines, the judge will impose a sentence," said Richard Kling, Kent College Of Law.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will likely reveal more about their sentencing strategies in court filings due Friday.

Blagojevich's sentencing is scheduled for October 6, but it could be delayed because it conflicts with the start of another corruption case in front of the same judge.


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