Siegler on How Blagojevich is Getting Off Easy
Rod Blagojevich is a lucky man. He is lucky that the U.S. attorney's office is asking U.S. District Judge James Zagel to send him to prison for only 15 to 20 years. He is lucky that the prosecution is not asking for him to do 30 years to life in prison, which is the amount of time called for by federal sentencing guidelines — the laws that set punishment in federal cases based on the severity of the crime.
Blagojevich is especially lucky that he is not my recent client, a drug-addicted man who grew up on the South Side and pleaded guilty to selling two ounces of drugs to a government informant for $200. I represented this man, and the same U.S. attorney's office asked Zagel to follow the sentencing guidelines strictly and send him to prison for up to 27 years. Luckily for Blagojevich, the prosecutors filed a motion asking for a far lighter sentence for the former governor who, they themselves contend, deeply damaged the integrity of the political system by trying to hand over a U.S. Senate seat in exchange for $1.5 million in donations and then blatantly lied about his conduct on the stand.