A contrite former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in federal prison, capping one of the state’s worst political scandals and humbling a controversial and defiant figure who rode into office as a champion of reform.
The sentence handed Blagojevich was the second-longest ever delivered in federal court in Chicago for a public corruption case. But U.S. District Judge James Zagel made it clear that the former governor’s position and the relentless history of corruption in Illinois demanded a harsh message.
“When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn and disfigured and not easily repaired,” the judge lectured Blagojevich. “You did that damage.”