Patti Blagojevich to judge: ‘Begging you … please be merciful’

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Amy Blagojevich, 18, breaks down in tears while her mom, Patti Blagojevich, 50, discusses the U.S. Court of Appeals decision to throw out five of 12 counts against their husband and father, convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, outside the family’s Northwest Side home Tuesday afternoon, July 21, 2015. File Photo. Ashlee Rezin/for Sun-Times Media

Illinois’ former first lady Patti Blagojevich is “pleading … indeed begging” for a federal judge to be merciful at her husband’s resentencing hearing Tuesday morning, asking him to “Please let Rod come home.”

Blagojevich, the wife of imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is one of several people pleading for mercy for the disgraced governor, according to new documents released Monday evening. Others include Patti Blagojevich’s sister and a trio of prison inmates.

Patti Blagojevich focused on what her husband’s absence has meant to her and their two daughters.

“The future of my children, family and husband, lies within your power and judgment,” Patti Blagojevich wrote to U.S. District Judge James Zagel. “Please reunite me with my husband of almost 26 years so that we can go on to love and support each other, and raise our children together.

“Please let Rod come home and be the father that our daughters need and deserve. . . . I am pleading with you, indeed begging you, to please be merciful,” she wrote.

In her letter, Patti Blagojevich also writes of the milestones her husband has missed with their two daughters since he entered prison in March of 2012.

“Amy will never graduate high school again, or go to prom, or have her fist day of college,” she writes. “Without Rod here, events that should be joyful celebrations are just cruel reminders of his absence, with an undercurrent of sadness at every school play, piano recital or ice-skating competition.”

Patti Blagojevich’s sister, Ald. Deb Mell, too wrote a letter, describing her brother-in-law as a “loving father, a devoted husband and a thoughtful friend.”

The 33rd Ward alderman said Rod Blagojevich’s imprisonment has “devastated” the lives of her sister and her sister’s children.

“Their family will never be the same; the trajectory of their lives forever altered,” Mell wrote, adding that Rod Blagojevich “will forever be regretful” of the circumstances that landed him in prison.

Three of the letters are from fellow prison inmates, with one calling him “Gov” in a handwritten letter. Another writes that Rod Blagojevich has changed the lives of inmates, describing him as a “very humble human being” who’s always smiling.

“I pray that you look at Mr. Blagojevich as a man who has paid the maximum debt for his actions, being taken away from those he loves, as well as no longer being able to serve the public as Governor,” the inmate, who isn’t named, wrote.

Another unnamed inmate, whom Rod Blagojevich met at the Federal Prison Camp in Englewood, Colorado, said he has “no entitlement issues, does not display any narcissistic behavior, and is not self-centered.”

A 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last year wiped out Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence, setting the stage for a re-sentencing hearing. The decision followed years of appeals, including an unsuccessful bid by Blagojevich, 59, to have the U.S. Supreme Court hear his case.

Rod Blagojevich’s attorneys are asking Zagel to impose a five-year sentence. He has already served nearly four years and five months.

But federal prosecutors say the former governor has refused to accept responsibility for his crimes and still deserves the 14-year sentence, which would keep him locked up until May 2024.

Rod Blagojevich will appear at his sentencing on Tuesday via a closed-circuit video link. He’s been imprisoned in a Colorado prison since 2012.

He was convicted of what prosecutors called “three charged shakedowns,” including his attempt to sell then-President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, to shake down the CEO of Children’s Memorial Hospital for $25,000 in campaign contributions, and to hold up a bill to benefit the racetrack industry for $100,000 in campaign contributions. A jury also convicted him of lying to the FBI.

Contributing: Jon Seidel

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