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Rod Blagojevich Isn't Leaving Prison Any Time Soon; Court Upholds Sentence

By Stephen Gossett in News on Apr 21, 2017 5:04PM

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich won't be going home any time in the near future.

It took only three days for a federal court to deny the disgraced governor's appeal for a reduced sentence—an uncharacteristically short amount of time for a ruling to be administered. Apparently the three judges on the panel thought making the call was rather uncomplicated.

The ruling handed down on Friday effectively ends any reasonable hope of a reduction in his 14-year prison sentence. The legal team for Blagojevich, 60, had argued in favor of less time on the basis of good behavior and due to the fact that five of his 18 convictions had been been tossed out by an appeals court in 2015.

Those dismissals led to a re-sentencing, but Judge James Zagel then imposed the same 14-year term. Friday's ruling was the result of an appeal to that decision. Blagojevich was convicted of corruption charges in 2011. The most high-profile conviction related to his attempt to sell the Senate seat of Barack Obama after he was elected president, in 2008.

Ultimately however, the court was not moved by the Blagojevich's arguments, even as his team put forth 100 letters from other prisoners, which testified to the ex-governor's good deeds inside the lockup, including teaching classes to other inmates. (He was also, rather amazingly, in a band called the Jailhouse Rockers.) "As with many discretionary subjects the fact that a judge could have ruled otherwise does not imply that the judge was compelled to rule otherwise," the opinion reads, via the Tribune.

Back in December, Blagojevich sought a commutation in his sentence from Obama, but to no avail.