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Excerpts from Zagel’s sentencing: ‘The fabric of Illinois is torn’

JAMES ZAGEL

JAMES ZAGEL

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Updated: January 9, 2012 10:17AM



“His abuse of the office of governor … is more damaging than the abuse of any other office in the United States except president.”

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“In the end, his defense morphed into a claim that he did not believe his proposals were ‘quid pro quo’ … The jury did not believe him and neither do I.”

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“Every governor, even our worst, helps someone and does good things for people. You never actually know whether that comes from personal commitment or from a calculation for political benefit. In my calculus, it doesn’t matter … I do also believe what he did for children’s health was motivated by a true concern for the welfare of children. And these actions are, in my mind, a mitigating factor.”

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“I see case after case where good fathers are also bad citizens ... There is no question that the innocent children of felons suffer... This is tragic. But, as he admits, the fault of this lies with the defendant alone. Why did devotion as a father not deter him from engaging in such reckless conduct? I know the thoughts of children weigh heavily on his mind as he faces punishment. Now it is too late. If it’s any consolation to his children, he does not stand convicted of being a bad father.”

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“Some of these letters discuss the good things defendant has done. Most of them are from people who personally benefited from acts or from specific favors conferred by the governor and in some cases by the General Assembly.”

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“I have called you ‘Governor’ when I spoke to you. Your own lawyers don’t. The governor doesn’t. By protocol, you’re entitled to that honorific if for no other reason than you won elections for governor twice. But I also do it because it serves as a reminder to those of us who vote — and those of who don’t — it reminds voters of the maxim: The American voters usually get precisely the government they deserve.”

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“ When a state senator takes a bribe, that’s one person out of 59. You are not to be compared with those who hold lesser positions in government. You, as a governor are seen to control all of them, though I concede in practice you don’t. When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn and disfigured and not easily or quickly repaired. You did that damage.”



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