Blagojevich attorneys return to appeals court in effort to reduce sentence

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Blagojevich attorneys continue sentence appeal
Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted in 2011 of abusing power, including an attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat held by Barack Obama.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Attorneys for Rod Blagojevich appeared in federal appellate court Tuesday in Chicago to argue that the imprisoned ex-governor should have his 14-year sentence reduced.

Oral arguments before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lasted about 30 minutes. There is no timeline for when the court could reach a decision.

The hearing follows Blagojevich's resentencing last August when a lower court judge gave him the same 14-year prison he imposed at the initial sentencing in 2011. Blagojevich was convicted of abusing his power, including an attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Barack Obama.

On Tuesday, lawyers asked for a new sentencing hearing, saying that the previous judge didn't take into consideration the dozens of letters from fellow inmates about the good work he has been doing in prison.

"It's an argument the government keeps raising that he's not truly remorseful. It's interesting because the government prosecuted him. The reason we're back here is because the government prosecuted him for something that wasn't a crime, something that in the history of this country has never been prosecuted and has been done throughout history as the appellate court found," his lawyer Leonard Goodman said outside court.

Prosecutors said Blagojevich has failed to accept responsibility for his crimes and believe the sentence should stand.

The Blagojevich family remains hopeful.

"My husband's an eternal optimist. He's always hoping this is going to come out the way it needs to come out. His hopes are high and he continues to trust in the system that has so far let us down but he believes that it's gotta come out right in the end," said his wife Patti Blagojevich.