Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich formed a band called the Jailhouse Rockers while serving time at a federal penitentiary in Colorado, according to a sentencing memorandum filed by the disgraced governor's legal team late Monday night.
According to the memo, Blagojevich formed the band with a fellow inmate, described as “accomplished musician" “Ernie B.” An avowed Elvis fan, Blagojevich paid homage to the king of rock 'n' roll by naming his band after one of the famed rocker's biggest hits.
The Jailhouse Rockers performed at a GED graduation ceremony in June 2013 and again on the Fourth of July.
Blagojevich, who also taught GED courses at the prison, studied guitar and vocals with “Ernie B” until the inmate was ultimately released and the group was forced to disband.
The former governor asked Monday that his sentence be reduced to five years, noting that he never collected fraudulent monies and that he had spent his time behind bars “improving himself as a person, through hard work, while also being of service to other inmates."
Blagojevich’s attorney Leonard Goodman declared that his client’s pursuit of a challenge to his conviction “does not in any way lessen the remorse that he feel for his behavior.”
Blagojevich has been imprisoned for just over four years. He is serving a 14-year sentence at the Federal Penitentiary in Englewood, Colorado. The former governor is scheduled to be re-sentenced Aug. 9 after the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned five of the 18 counts on which he was convicted.
As part of the filing, Blagojevich’s defense submitted a host of letters written on the governor’s behalf, including notes from Rep. Jan Schakowsky, former Rep. Bob Barr and over a hundred fellow inmates.
One inmate noted that he and other prisoners called Blagojevich “the Gov” and claimed he had been “a nice man, always polite and respectful.”
Nevertheless, the government urged Judge James Zagel to keep Blagojevich’s sentence intact.
In arguing against a reduction in Blagojevich’s sentence, prosecutors noted that “the defendant remains convicted of the same three charged shakedowns of which he stood convicted at the original sentencing: the Senate seat shakedown, the racetrack shakedown and the hospital shakedown.”
“The defendant acted corruptly, repeatedly, and in utter disregard of the trust Illinois voters had placed on him,” attorney Julie Burnham Porter wrote. “The dismissal of five of the 18 counts in no way detracts from that fact.”