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OUR VIEW: Blagojevich gets what he deserves

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opinion Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Rod Blagojevich is headed to prison in a judicial decision that is right as rain.

The former governor of Illinois was found guilty of 18 charges of corruption, including one charge that he tried to leverage his decision-making power into cash or a high-paying job after he left the governor's office.

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Elected to two terms, Blagojevich has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. The Associated Press called it one of the stiffest penalties imposed for corruption in a state that has a long history of corrupt politics. His penalty is harsher than the sentences of the other four former Illinois governors who have been sent to prison in the last four decades.

Did readers catch that? Four former Illinois governors have served prison time in just the last 40-some years.

Democrat Otto Kerner Jr. was convicted on counts of bribery, conspiracy, tax evasion and perjury and received prison time back in the early 1970s.

Democrat Dan Walker, Illinios' governor from 1973 to 1977, went to jail after a series of savings and loan scandals.

Republican George Ryan was governor from 1999 to 2003 and was convicted in 2006 on charges related to commercial driver's licenses being issued to unqualified drivers, in exchange for bribes.

And now the Democrat Blagojevich will serve time after being tied to pay-to-play deals, lying to the FBI and fraud. And after first being accused, Blagojevich went national as a way to garner attention and try to sway opinions about him. We remember him appearing on David Letterman's television program. On various TV shows, he maintained his innocence.

"I'd like your listeners to know and everybody in Illinois and everybody else who's listening that unlike those (past governors), I will be vindicated," he told Letterman that night back in 2009. "I've done nothing wrong. I will be given an opportunity to go into court and prove I've done nothing wrong."

This week, it's a different story.

He told the judge he has made "terrible mistakes" and added that "I caused it all. ... I was the governor and should have known better and I am just so incredibly sorry."

Funny how honest folks can get moments after being judged guilty and while a sentence is being handed down.

Good for the judge for handing down this harsh sentence. The state of Illinois deserves better. We all do.

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