SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) – Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in federal prison and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine for the corruption charges on which he was convicted.
A jury returned 17 guilty verdicts against Blagojevich in June, finding, among other charges, that Blagojevich tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.
Federal prosecutors asked for a sentence between 15 and 20 years, but Blagojevich’s attorneys claimed that penalty was excessive. For the first time Tuesday, Blagojevich and his attorneys admitted that crimes were committed.
“There is a line between routine politics, horse trading and campaign politics,” Blagojevich said. “I thought they were permissible and I was mistaken.”
But the apology came too late for U.S. District Judge James Zagel, who handed down the sentence. If Blagojevich had stepped down, rather than getting impeached, that might have helped his cause, Zagel said, adding that Blagojevich had ruined the careers of several people under him.
The former governor has 90 days to report to prison.