UPDATE: The Judge has sentenced Blagojevich to 168 months, nearly 14 years in prison.
Ex-Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich Wednesday told U.S. District Judge James Zagel he “never set out to break the law.”
The disgraced politician today faces sentencing on his conviction on 18 counts of corruption, including an attempt to sell the Senate seat President Barack Obama left when elected president.
“I have nobody to blame but myself for my stupidity and actions and the things I did and I thought I could do,” Blagojevich said, presumably in a bid for a more lenient sentence.
“I’m not blaming anybody. The jury decided I was guilty, I am accepting of it, I acknowledge it.”
The politician added he’s “unbelievably sorry” and conceded he made “terrible mistakes” while in office.
The concessions contradict Blagojevich’s countless denials of wrongdoing during a media blitz that extended nearly three years in the wake of his ouster from office.
During Tuesday’s court session, the first of a two-day sentencing hearing, attorneys read the judge letters written by the politician’s wife Patti and daughter Amy, appealing for leniency in the sentencing.
“Your honor, I ask you humbly with the life of my husband and the childhood of my daughters in your hands, be merciful,” Patti wrote.
Amy wrote: “I need my father. I need him there for my high school graduation. I’ll need him when my heart gets broken.”
Blagojevich’s lawyers are hoping for probation, or minimal jail time, while prosecutors — citing that he’s eligible for a life sentence — are pushing for 15-20 years in prison.
The judge is expected to announce the sentence later Wednesday.
Blagojevich has appeared on Celebrity Apprentice, while his wife Patti appeared on I’m A Celebrity …. Get Me Out Of Here.
Illinois has had six governors charged with crimes during or after their stays in office. Four of them — Otto Kerner Jr., Dan Walker, George H. Ryan and Blagojevich — were convicted. (Len Small and William G. Stratton were acquitted in their respective cases.)