Ex Gov. Blagojevich: I made 'terrible mistakes'

December 7, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Almost three years ago, Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges. He was found guilty on 18 charges in two separate trials.

On Wednesday, Judge James Zagel will hand down his sentence. But first Blagojevich is expected to address the courtroom. Will Blagojevich follow his lawyers' lead and admit any wrongdoing or show any remorse?

Attorneys argue sentencing; Patti, Blagojevich daughter write to judge

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

"It went a long way for showing respect to the legal process," said jury foreman Connie Wilson. "I've heard from a lot of citizens who say they want to hear from him that maybe he stepped over the line."

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.

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."

Some of the jurors from the second Blagojevich trial were in court listening to the sentencing hearing.

"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 then again, as the judge said, there are a lot of people with families," one juror said.

"They presented a case to show that Rod Blagojevich has another side. He has a side that does have good character. But the thing is that, you know, that doesn't absolve him of the crimes he committed," said juror Jessica Hubinek.

Legal analysts believe that Blagojevich could get at least 10 years behind bars. The government is asking for 15 to 20 years.

Blagojevich talks baseball on first day of sentencing 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.

Earlier that same day, Blagojevich said little outside his Ravenswood Manor home 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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