Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was re-sentenced Tuesday to the same 14 years he’s been serving in federal prison for corruption. A judge denied his request to have his sentence cut to five years, even after his lawyers argued that Blagojevich is a changed man, citing, among other things, the fact that he was the lead singer in a prison band called the Jailhouse Rockers.
Blagojevich famously tried to sell Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat, telling someone in a phone call tapped by the FBI, “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it.”
That didn’t go very well, but now that the famously helmet-haired governor has already served four and a half years, his lawyers argued that his stint as the singer of the Jailhouse Rockers was evidence of his changed character. The band had a 21-song setlist, according to the AP, and broke up because the guitarist was released.
Blagojevich, appearing via a closed-circuit television from a federal facility in Colorado, wept as his daughter read a statement begging the judge to allow him to come home. He then told the court he was sorry and newly close to God, according to the Chicago Tribune:
Speaking without notes, Blagojevich said he had been too ambitious and recognized he erred by fighting too many battles in public.
“This can be a beginning to make amends for the past,” he said while looking directly into the camera.
The former governor said it pains him that his actions have hurt his family and blamed himself for putting his loved ones in that situation.
He said his time behind bars “has put me closer to God.”
“I’m a very different person,” he said, concluding his remarks.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued that Blagojevich wasn’t truly remorseful, referring to his “mistakes” without admitting guilt or wrongdoing. He’s slated for release in 2024, which is probably enough time to learn to play an instrument.