Blago's Sentencing Begins Today

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 6, 2011 4:28PM

The day Rod Blagojevich has been dreading has arrived as his sentencing hearing begins. We already know federal prosecutors are requesting a sentence of 15-20 years for Blagojevich, arguing that his attempts to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama's election to the Presidency "have done enormous damage to public confidence in Illinois government."

Blagojevich's legal team, who have tried everything they can to keep him out of prison, are expected to ask for leniency from Judge James Zagel, saying that Blagojevich was a good governor who cared about Illinoisans and was led astray by advisers and didn't directly profit from the schemes established to enrich his campaign coffers.

The former governor is expected to testify in his own behalf. Experts say Blagojevich will have to apologize if he's to expect leniency from Zagel, who said he won't impose his sentence until Wednesday.

Eyes are also on 33rd Ward Ald. Dick Mell, Blagojevich's estranged father-in-law. Mell reportedly is already feeling the strain of a ward remapping process in which Hispanic politicians aim to gain wards and African American aldermen try to keep what they feel is their. If Blagojevich is as strapped for cash as he's claimed, Mell may be called upon to help support daughter Patti Blagojevich while her husband serves his sentence.

Readers looking for real time updates on the Blagojevich sentencing should be following journalist Susan Berger on Twitter. Berger's "Blagojustice" blog has been a must-read for us during both of Blagojevich's trials and he's been tweeting updates from the courthouse all morning.