Attorneys argue Blago not as corrupt as others

December 6, 2011 4:17:48 PM PST
At one point during Tuesday's daylong Rod Blagojevich sentencing hearing, some other corrupt Illinois politicians were named.

That is just one of the unusual nuggets in this Intelligence Report.

Lawyers for Blagojevich listed some well known, corrupt political figures in Illinois: Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese, Chicago City Clerk Jim Laski, corrupt businessman Stuart Levine, and ex-governor George Ryan, who is still in prison.

The attorneys argued that they were all much more corrupt than Blagojevich...and there were names heard in court of people still under investigation.

Among those names was South Side Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who is under the cloud of a House Ethics investigation after his name surfaced in the investigation of Blagojevich's attempt to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat.

During Tuesday's hearing, Judge James Zagel said he believed Blagojevich did indeed try to obtain $1.5 million from Jackson supporters, Zagel calling that "the amount the defendant expected to receive if he accepted the offer," and saying Blagojevich was "pretty relentless" in pursuing that deal.

Even though Jackson denies it happened, Judge Zagel says it will count toward a longer possible prison term for Blagojevich.

In court Tuesday there were jurors from both of Blagojevich's trials.

"His children are innocent victims of this case, so I think I feel sorry for the whole situation," said second trial juror Jessica Hubinek.

Also in court was a Roman Catholic nun, Sister Susanne Kullowitch, from St. Aloysius Church serving Bucktown/Wicker Park. She told the I-Team that she was there because she feels sorry for the former governor and that she wrote letter a to the judge to tell him that Blagojevich fell from prominence and has already suffered great humiliation.

Finally, would anything said during the sentencing might actually influence Judge James Zagel?

"I think the sentence for Tony Rezko at 10 1/2 kind of set the bar," said former federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer.

Late Tuesday afternoon, defense lawyers played clips of FBI wiretaps to show Blagojevich was doing what other people told him and was just trying to help people. These were tapes played during the trials and not those the ex-governor wanted heard at sentencing but had denied by the judge.

In the end, at this point, Blagojevich's best hope may come from that nun, who says she is praying for the former governor.


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