The judge in the corruption trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich set a tentative date for sentencing Monday.
Judge James Zagel set Oct. 6 as the tentative date for sentencing, noting the hearings could last two days. He asked lawyers to return to court Sept. 28 to discuss the evidence to be presented at sentencing.
Blagojevich’s attorneys were back in court Monday morning for the hearing, but Blagojevich himself was not in the courthouse.
In June, Blagojevich was convicted on 17 counts of corruption, many of them related to his attempts to trade Barack Obama’s senate seat for his own benefit.
He has asked the judge to throw out the convictions. Zagel said he had seen a motion filed last week by the Blagojevich team asking for a new trial and said there wasn't much new. He ordered a pre-sentencing report.
After the hearing, Blagojevich’s lead attorney Sheldon Sorosky did not rule out calling Patti or Rod Blagojevich to testify at sentencing. He said the takeaway from the hearing was the judge had not made up his mind and was willing to hear Blagojevich’s arguments for leniency.
One sentencing expert who spoke with FOX Chicago legal analyst Larry Yellen said the likely range for a sentence is between seven and 13 years.
If Blagojevich gets sentenced to more than 10 years, he has to serve at least part of it at a medium security prison, but if he gets less than 10 years, he serves it at a minimum security prison.
The judge will determine what's called for under federal sentencing guidelines, but those guidelines are only advisory; he is not obligated to follow them.
One of the issues in the case that did not surface Monday, is whether Blagojevich will be allowed to remain free on bond while he appeals his convictions to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
That will probably be decided when he is sentenced. If the judge lets him remain free, it could mean another year of freedom while his appeal is heard.
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