Federal prosecutors on Monday blasted Rod Blagojevich as a man who tried to have it both ways, a politician who alternately portrayed himself as a visionary leader, or as a “nominal” governor, who was controlled by those around him.
“These portrayals are inconsistent with one another,” wrote prosecutor Reid Schar, in a sternly-worded filing to the court, “and contradicted by the evidence and the jury’s verdicts.”
Schar told Judge James Zagel that the former governor’s stand “makes clear that Blagojevich accepts no responsibility whatsoever for his criminal conduct.”
The prosecutor argued that Blagojevich’s failure to account for his own actions speaks volumes about his own requests for leniency.
“The government requests that the court reject the defendant’s arguments, and impose a sentence that properly accounts for seriousness of (his) crimes.”
In his own filing, Blagojevich’s lawyers stated the governor was victimized by his advisors, who “poorly and improperly encouraged him, directed him, used him, lied to him, embarrassed him, and led him into the morass of a 6 year investigation that resulted in the destruction of his life, and career.”
But prosecutors said that only demonstrated Blagojevich’s own failure to accept responsibility for his actions, and that it provides a “telling insight” into his character. They note that while he boasts of many legislative accomplishments for which he insists he was personally responsible, “when it comes to the issues at the core of his criminal convictions, Blagojevich claims he was responsible for nothing … and simply a tool of those whom he supervised.”
“A review of the recordings presented at trial, demonstrates that Blagojevich was fully in control of his advisers,” Schar wrote, arguing that the former governor “spurred on the criminal activity, and he alone stood to benefit from the crimes of which he was convicted.”
The government’s filing declares that in essence, Blagojevich admits that he lied during his trial, arguing that he thought efforts to gain personal benefits from a Senate seat were legal, while insisting that he planned all along to appoint Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Prosecutors warned the governor not to buy into the former governor’s arguments that his guilt was mitigated by the fact that he never received anything of value.
“Defendants, particularly those who find themselves targets of undercover law enforcement operations, often do not succeed in their ultimate goals.”
The Blagojevich sentencing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday.