Blagojevich jurors feel bad for ex-governor

December 7, 2011

Jurors from Rod Blagojevich's two trials are planning to be back in court Tuesday morning when the former governor's sentencing hearing continues. Four or five jurors from each of the governor's trials showed up to court Tuesday, where U.S. Marshalls had reserved two rows on one side of the courtroom for them.

Jessica Hubinek, a librarian, said she was almost moved to tears as Blagojevich's defense attorneys read a letter to the judge from the governor's teenage daughter, Amy. In the letter she asks for a lenient sentence.

"I need him here for my high school graduation. I need him here if I don't get into college. I need him here if I do get it. I need him when my heart gets broken," wrote Amy Blagojevich, according to Blagojevich attorney Aaron Goldstein.

Goldstein also played part of a phone call that was secretly recorded by the government.  In the conversation Blagojevich lovingly and playfully talks to his wife and kids, and Goldstein says this shows the other side of Blagojevich. He said, yes, there was the criminal side of Blagojevich that was convicted, but there is also the good and decent side of Blagojevich that loves and cares for his family and pushed legislative goals to help the poor.

Juror Hubinek says she doesn't regret voting to convict Blagojevich on 17 corruption counts because the evidence was overwhelming, but she says she wouldn't want to be the judge and have to sentence him.

Blagojevich's attorneys say they accept the jury's verdict, but they say Blagojevich never took cash in envelopes, he simply requested campaign contributions. They say his action were not so bad compared to other crooked politicians.

But they failed to convince the judge that Blagojevich wasn't the leader in the criminal activity. Citing the prosecution's secretly recorded phone tapes, Judge James Zagel said Blagojevich was not an easy man to stop, and he said Blagojevich's quote, "tone of voice was demanding, he was not a supplicant."

Prosecutors will make their argument for a long sentence on Wednesday.  They say they want 20 minutes to address the court. Blagojevich is then expected to make a statement.  Zagel is expected to hand down a sentence today.