Blago Showmanship Disappears During Court Appearance - NBC Chicago
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Blago Showmanship Disappears During Court Appearance



    Blagojevich Clams Up

    The showmanship was gone as Rod Blagojevich appeared in court Friday for his bond hearing. (Published Saturday, July 16, 2011)

    It would appear that reality is starting to set in for Rod Blagojevich.

    Citing "financial considerations," lawyers said Friday that former governor has put his Ravenswood Manor home up for sale. And there was a marked difference in Blagojevich’s demeanor as he appeared in Federal court.

    Blagojevich posted the house and his Washington, D.C. condo to satisfy requirements of the $450,000 bond set by Judge James Zagel on Friday. The judge said if the house sells, the couple's next home will simply take its place. As is customary, Zagel admonished the former governor, that he could lose the home if he violates any terms of his bond.

    "Yes sir," a contrite Blagojevich said. "And I have no intention of violating it."

    If citizens nationwide are used to the wisecracking, Elvis-quoting, Apprentice-starring Blagojevich, they would not have recognized him today.

    "One of the things that is important at sentencing is how a defendant accepts responsibility for his crime," said former federal prosecutor Ron Safer. He said it is no surprise that Blagojevich seems to be laying low since his conviction.

    "If he is silent, he's at least neutral," Safer said. "If he’s proclaiming his innocence, he's thumbing his nose at the jury. He's thumbing his nose at the process, and the judge is going to punish him for it."

    Critics had accused Blagojevich of repeatedly playing to the cameras, hoping to influence members of his jury. Now, Safer notes, his only audience is Judge Zagel.

    "He can say whatever he wants. But if he says, 'Look jury, you’re dead wrong, judge you’re dead wrong,' the judge has the right to impose a sentence that says, 'You don’t understand the severity of your conduct. I'm going to give you a sentence that helps you understand it.'"

    Blagojevich returns to court August 1. Under terms of his bond, he is not allowed to leave the northern district of Illinois.