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Blagojevich’s brother calls verdict a ‘family tragedy’

Robert Blagojevich said he cried Wednesday when he heard his brother former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sentenced 14 years

Robert Blagojevich said he cried Wednesday when he heard his brother, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison. (Brian Jackson/Chicago Sun-Times)

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Updated: June 28, 2011 2:11AM

They’re brothers and once were also co-defendants.

That dynamic meant they didn’t always get along.

But on Monday, Robert Blagojevich said that no matter what, he will always support his younger brother.

“This is a Blagojevich family tragedy. For Patti, for their daughters, for us peripherally,” Rob Blagojevich, of Nashville, Tenn., said of his younger brother’s devastating verdict. “This is a major, life-altering verdict for my brother and his family.”

The Blagojevich brothers were tried together in last summer’s case. But after jurors deadlocked on Rob, then the majority said they wouldn’t have convicted him, prosecutors dropped the charges against him.

On Monday, the two brothers did not speak after the verdict, but Rob, who had advised his brother to take the stand in his own defense, said he sent the former governor a text message.

“You gotta regroup and figure out now where you’re going and how to deal with your new reality,” Rob Blagojevich said.

Prosecutors asked the judge to quickly sentence Blagojevich. U.S. District Judge James Zagel also said Blagojevich, who has taken numerous media junkets to New York, can no longer leave the Northern District of Illinois without court permission.

Leaving the courthouse, the former governor, who faces significant prison time, said his first order of business was to talk to his two daughters.

“We want to get home to our little girls and talk to them and explain things to them and try to sort things out,” Rod Blagojevich said. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing you guys again.”

Contributing: Chris Fusco

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