Blagojevich team says he's guilty, asks for mercy

Court News Center Posted on

After all his claims of innocence and facing years in prison, Rod Blagojevich let his lawyers make an admission that he has so far avoided - that he is, in fact, guilty of public corruption.

The former Illinois governor will get a chance to do the same Wednesday, when he is scheduled to address the judge who will decide his sentence.

Judge James Zagel signaled Tuesday he may be prepared to impose a stiff prison sentence, saying he thinks Blagojevich lied when he told jurors he never tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat for campaign cash or a top job.

Throughout the first day of his two-day sentencing hearing, the impeached executive-turned-reality TV star known for his jocular personality was somber and ill-at-ease, staring down at the floor. His wife sobbed as a letter from their daughter was read begging Zagel not to send Blagojevich to prison.

The hearing was a stark contrast to the circus atmosphere around Blagojevich's trials on multiple counts of corruption.

The conciliatory tone came as something of a surprise — just days after defense filings that, as many times before, stridently declared Blagojevich's innocence and said he had been duped by aides but never intended to cross any lines into illegality.

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