Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich [personal website; JURIST news archive] was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison on corruption charges. Judge James Zagel of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] handed down the sentence after Blagojevich made a public apology in court earlier in the day. Blagojevich was scheduled to be sentenced on October 6 after he was convicted [JURIST report] in June on 18 counts of corruption, but the sentencing hearing was delayed [JURIST reports] until this week. It is unclear when Blagojevich will report to prison.
Blagojevich was previously found guilty [JURIST report] last year of making false statements to the FBI, but the jury remained deadlocked on 23 additional charges. The prosecutors dropped some of the charges [JURIST report] to simplify the case for retrial, including charges for racketeering. In January 2009, the Illinois State Senate voted unanimously [JURIST report] to convict Blagojevich of abuse of power and remove him from office. Blagojevich and his former chief of staff John Harris were initially arrested [JURIST report] in December 2008 on corruption charges, including allegations that they conspired to sell the Senate seat left vacant by US President Barack Obama.