Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How will the Blagojevich tale end?

It will be interesting to see just how seriously the federal appeals court based in Chicago takes the latest argument made by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich – who desperately wants that 14-year prison sentence he’s serving changed to something he considers more reasonable.
BLAGOJEVICH: 7 more years?

Perhaps something like time served?

ATTORNEYS FOR BLAGOJEVICH were at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, spending about a half-hour arguing why U.S. District Judge James Zagel was wrong when he re-sentenced the former governor to the same prison term that he had originally received when found guilty of various crimes.

Admittedly, the court that found some of the charges he was found guilty of to be improper, but also said that those charges were lesser enough that they didn’t automatically ensure a lesser prison sentence.

That caused Zagel to hand down the same sentence, despite the many letters and statements that Blagojevich’s attorneys had presented to make an argument that the former governor is actually a model inmate at the federal corrections facility in Colorado where he has been held since 2012.

Zagel at the time made a point of saying he disregarded what those people thought about Blagojevich’s conduct while in prison because they did not know him back when he was Illinois’ governor and held a position of power that required people to trust his judgment and conduct.

BLAGOJEVICH’S ATTORNEYS ARGUED on Tuesday that Zagel ought to be required to take those people (many of whom are inmates who have had contact with Blagojevich during his incarceration) and their thoughts into account.

“Judge Zagel dismissed it in effect as being irrelevant,” attorney Michael Nash argued before the appeals court. “It is an important factor that should have been considered. The judge dismissed it out of hand.”

I’m not sure how eager the appeals court will be to decide on what amounts to a judgment call on the part of the trial judge.
ZAGEL: Judging the judge's ruling

Because part of what his job includes is to decide what information that comes up during a trial is relevant, and what is not. In some cases, it is his task to keep lesser details from being blown out of proportion, and irrelevant facts from swaying a verdict one way or the other.

I CAN APPRECIATE why attorneys for Blagojevich are eager to have people say nice things about the man; particularly since here in the outside world – and particularly in that political universe known as Chicagoland – the only talk we hear about the man is negative.

Creating the image of a man who no longer poses a threat to our society, or our political structure, is key to making an argument that the five years Blagojevich already has served in prison is sufficient.

Which, if you want to be totally honest, is more time than most people who get politically-connected criminal convictions wind up getting.

If it were just about anybody else, particularly someone with a less-bloated ego than our former governor had, he’d have got the 18 months at a minimum-security facility and he’d be well on his way to turning into a “Whatever became of …” story.

INSTEAD, BLAGOJEVICH SEEMS determined to live on in our mindset at least until that May 2024 date on which he qualifies for early release – provided he really remains as well-behaved an inmate as his attorneys contend he is.

That means several more appearances in coming years by former first lady Patti trying to claim that her man deserves to be free – does she think she’s becoming Winnie Mandela, who spent those decades her activist husband Nelson was in jail traveling the world to argue for his cause?
PATTI: Speaking out for husband

Calling him an “eternal optimist,” Patti Blagojevich on Tuesday told reporter-types of her husband, “he’s always hoping this is going to come out the way it needs to come out.”

The sad thing is I could see where if THAT outcome were to become reality, it would be the nightmare for many of us in society who wish it were possible that we could just quit paying attention to the Illinois political nonsense of those year that is only topped by the state fiscal stupidity of the current era.


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