Supreme Court Denies Blagojevich’s Appeal

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal by former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich to shorten his jail sentence. Blagojevich is currently serving 14 years in federal prison relating to a wide-ranging corruption scandal from his time in office. He was famously convicted of soliciting bribes in exchange for filing the empty Senate seat of Barack Obama after he was elected president in the fall of 2008.

The court’s ruling leaves in place a lower court decision that rejected Blagojevich’s request for a reduced sentence based on the fact that some of the counts in his original conviction back in 2011 have been invalidated. He also claimed that he deserved a reduced sentence because of his good behavior since being incarcerated in prison.

The former governor, who is now 61 years old, was also convicted of extortion and wire fraud in addition to soliciting bribes. He was in office from January 2003 to January 2009. It was during the latter date that the Illinois legislature removed him from office. He then began serving his sentence in 2012.

The charges against Blagojevich, who was also once a contestant on Donald Trump’s reality show “Celebrity Apprentice,” and who is a member of the Democratic Party, went beyond filling Obama’s vacant senate seat. Prosecutors additionally accused Blagojevich of soliciting campaign funds in exchange for raising reimbursement rates relating to pediatric health care in the state, and for supporting legislation that would have benefited local horse racing interests.

In 2015, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago invalidated 5 of the 18 original counts against Blagojevich. They also ordered new sentencing for the former governor. But James Zagel, who is a U.S. district judge, eventually gave Blagojevich the same 14-year sentence that he had first received. Later on in 2017, the same 7th Circuit Court rejected an appeal from Blagojevich and his legsl reprentatives, who maintained that Zagel had abused his discretion when he imposed on Blagojevich the same exact sentence that he had originally received.


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