Rod Blagojevich sentencing
Deb Mell and Patti Blagojevich


The bulk of the first day of Rod Blagojevich's sentencing was given over to the defense's case for leniency, to the extent that the word was trending at Merriam-Webster (I'm always afraid of misspelling it, too). The defense threw out a kitchen-sink defense, or maybe a better metaphor is the prevent defense. So they hit on everything they've got: his family needs him, he wasn't a criminal aside from the things he's been convicted of, he never actually succeeded in any of his scheming, and so forth. The sentencing starts up again tomorrow at 10 am; @IdalmyCarrera, @Annie1221, @WCIASteve, @NatashaKorecki, @Ward_Room, and @hpennebaker are all excellent sources to follow along live.


That last one is an interesting point. The eternally feckless Blagojevich failed in his schemes. Which is the real tension and drama in the sentencing: rather than succeeding at something comparatively fine-grained and easily controllable, like a sensible corrupt politician would do, Blago shot the moon with a Senate-seat scheme that was futile for the same reasons it was so shocking, and I could see the scheme's failure (not that it's really a reason for leniency, as the judge pointed out) being far outweighed by its ambition. We'll (probably) see if Blago's artlessness, which got him into this fix, gets him partially out of it tomorrow.


Illustration: Cheryl A. Cook for the Chicago Tribune