Ex-Blago aide Lon Monk gets 2 years in prison

April 3, 2012 3:18:50 PM PDT
Lon Monk, who testified against ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in the Illinois corruption case.

Monk is a friend of Blagojevich's from law school who served as a top aide to the former governor. Monk pleaded guilty to trying to squeeze a racetrack executive for campaign cash in the corruption case. In exchange for testifying against his former boss, prosecutors recommended Monk get a 2-year prison sentence.

Judge James Zagel agreed to that recommendation, sentencing Monk to 24 months on Tuesday. At the hearing, Monk said to Judge Zagel, "I'm prepared to serve my sentence. I look forward to coming back a better person, husband, father and friend."

Monk had hoped to get some time shaved off following last week's 10-day sentence of another Blagojevich aide, ex- Chief-of-Staff John Harris. But prosecutors argued that Monk could have cooperated earlier. They also argued Monk could have said "no" to Blagojevich much more easily given their friendship, something those in the political world didn't have. But Monk never did. And Judge Zagel agreed.

Acknowledging the disparity between sentences, Judge James Zagel said what worked against Monk was that "he knew what kind of man the governor was. And he knew that when he took the job of Governor Blagojevich's persistence to get his own way."

Monk is to report to prison on July 6. He has asked to serve his time at a federal prison camp in Terre Haute, Indiana, not far from his Decatur home. If the request is granted, Monk will cross paths with former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, who is also doing time at Terre Haute.

Blagojevich received a 14-year sentence after being convicted of 18 corruption charges. He began serving three weeks ago.