Sentencing day arrives for Rod Blagojevich

December 7, 2011 (CHICAGO)

First, however, Zagel will hear from the former governor.

"it went a long way for showing respect to the legal process," said jury foreman Connie Wilson.

On day one of the sentencing hearing Tuesday, the packed courtroom got to hear attorneys for Rod Blagojevich admit -- for the first time -- that the former governor committed crimes.

The defense pushed its point that other public officials have committed corrupt crimes far worse than Blagojevich, and they got only a fraction of the prison time the government is asking for in the Blagojevich case.

Rod Blagojevich did not address the judge Tuesday. That was expected to happen Wednesday.

However, in a letter read in court, Mrs. Patti Blagojevich wrote the judge, "I ask you humbly with the life of my husband and the childhood of my daughters in your hands, be merciful."

The Blagojevich couple's teenage daughter, Amy, wrote to the judge, "It's too drastic a change. I need my father," "I need him for my high school graduation," and "I'll need him when my heart gets broken."

Listening to the letters were some of the jurors from the second Blagojevich trial.

"I do feel sorry for his daughter. I have a daughter the same age, and I can't imagine what she'd go through if she lost her father for any amount of time, but again, as the judge said, there are a lot of people with families," the juror said.

Blagojevich silent after hearing

A swarm of reporters greeted the former governor and his wife when they arrived at their Ravenswood home in a black sedan just after 6 p.m. The usually talkative Blagojevich did not make any comments. His wife Patti held his hand, leading him up the stairs and into their home. Later, when leaving the home with her sister, Patti did not answer any questions.

Earlier in the day, Blagojevich, who is just days shy of his 55th birthday, did not make a statement outside his home and entered and exited the federal courthouse through a basement door Tuesday on the first day of the former governor's sentencing hearing.

He said little outside his Ravenswood Manor home on Tuesday as he left for the federal courthouse with wife. Blagojevich, a big Chicago Cubs fan, answered only questions about the election of legendary Cub Ron Santo to the Hall of Fame.

"God bless him, I'm so happy to see he made it in to the Hall of Fame," Blagojevich said. "Long overdue."

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