Nightly News | December 07, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: This was sentencing day today for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich . He will be joining a long line of former Illinois governors who've gone behind bars. His sentence, 14 years. His demeanor, much different from the time of his initial arrest on corruption charges almost three years ago now. Our report tonight from NBC 's Ron Allen in Chicago .
Offscreen Voice: Here we go. Here we go.
RON ALLEN reporting: Rod Blagojevich left federal court a disgraced man, headed for 14 years in federal prison , convicted of 17 counts of bribery and attempted extortion, including, most notoriously, trying to cash in as governor by attempting to sell an appointment to President Obama 's old Senate seat.
Governor ROD BLAGOJEVICH: I've got this thing and
it's......golden. And I 'm just not giving it up
ALLEN: When federal agents arrested Blagojevich in 2008 , he defiantly asked, 'Is this a joke?' In all the time since he has not apologized, until today. "I was the governor and I should have known better . And I am just so incredibly sorry," he told Judge James Zagel , adding, "I would hope you could find some mercy." But the judge scolded Blagojevich for abusing the public trust. "The fabric of Illinois is torn, disfigured. You did that damage," he said. Mr. PATRICK FITZGERALD ( United States Attorney , Northern District of Illinois ): If there's a public official out there who's thinking about committing a crime, boy, they ought to be thinking twice.
ALLEN: For the past three years, the man who became known as " Blago " at times seemed to revel in the spotlight, appearing in a commercial...
ALLEN: ...even on reality TV . Today as he left court, the former governor tried to summon some of that bravado.
Gov. BLAGOJEVICH: We're going to keep fighting on through this adversity and see you soon.
ALLEN: He has until February to report to prison, when he will become the fourth Illinois governor in the last four decades to do time. Ron Allen , NBC News, Chicago.