Blago Wife, Daughters Plead for Mercy - NBC Chicago
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Blago Wife, Daughters Plead for Mercy

Defense team tries logic, emotion in quest for leniency from federal judge



    Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's defense team started their day with attempts at logic and ended with testimony aimed to pull at a federal judge's heartstrings.

    "I will not be able to handle my father not being around," Blagojevich's daughter, Amy, said in a letter to the court during the first day of the convicted governor's sentencing hearing. "I'll need him when my heart gets broken."

    Blagojevich's lawyers for the first time Tuesday admitted their client broke the law, but said his crimes doesn't justify the 15- to 20-year sentence the prosecution is seeking.

    "Blagojevich doesn't deserve mercy, but his family does," defense attorney Aaron Goldstein told Judge James Zagel.

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    Defense attorney Carolyn Gurland said Blagojevich's "adoration" for his family was "extraordinary."

    At times, Patti Blagojevich could be seen wiping tears from her eyes as she sat in the front row.

    "The one punishment he fears most," she said in an emotional letter to the court, is that her husband won't see his daughters grow up.

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    "Please be merciful," she asked of Zagel.

    Earlier, Goldstein tried a rational approach in his request for leniency, claiming that Blagojevich's crimes were "nowhere near" former Gov. George Ryan's crimes, and pointing out "he received 6 1/2 years."

    For a play-by-play of Tuesday's proceedings, review Ward Room's Live Blog.