Judge rejects Blagojevich request for leniency, SCOTUS appeal likely

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge who was ordered to resentence Rod Blagojevich has decided to keep the former Illinois governor’s original 14-year term on corruption counts.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel on Tuesday ignored pleas for leniency from Blagojevich’s wife and daughters in making the ruling. Blagojevich’s attorneys had asked for a 5-year reduced term after a federal appeals court. In making his decision Zagel said “these are serious crimes that had an impact on the people of Illinois.”

The judge also said it’s “an unfortunate reality” that Blagojevich’s innocent family members are made to suffer the consequences.

The white-haired Blagojevich appeared at the sentencing via live video from prison. He looked down briefly when the judge announce his decision but otherwise stared ahead and held a straight face.

A lawyer for Blagojevich says now that a judge has declined to lighten Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence, he may again appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Defense attorney Leonard Goodman said Tuesday the decision of whether to appeal will be up to Blagojevich, adding “I don’t see why he wouldn’t.”

The high court refused to consider Blagojevich’s corruption conviction earlier this year. At the time, one argument prosecutors made against the appeal being heard was that resentencing and other legal steps needed to play out.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel refused Tuesday to lessen Blagojevich’s sentence after an appeals court threw out some of the counts he was convicted of in 2011.