Source: The Washington Post
CHICAGO — Rod Blagojevich was clearly the ringleader of the schemes for which he was convicted, and lied about his actions on the witness stand, a judge said Tuesday at the ousted Illinois governor’s sentencing on charges that include trying to sell an appointment to President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.
In comments that could signal a lengthy prison sentence for Blagojevich, Judge James Zagel made it clear that he did not believe the suggestion made by defense attorneys that Blagojevich was duped by aides and advisers.
“There is no question from his tone of voice that he was demanding,” Zagel said of Blagojevich’s comments on phone conversations secretly recorded by the FBI. “His role as leader is clearly shown by his actions.”
And in his first openly harsh assessment of Blagojevich’s performance on the witness stand, Zagel said Blagojevich was lying when he testified that he planned to appoint the state’s attorney general to Obama’s seat in a legal political deal.
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