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Judge sets Blagojevich sentencing for Dec. 6

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis D-Ill. wants Congress give federal inmates chance shorten their sentences – thinks imprisoned former Gov. Rod

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., wants Congress to give federal inmates a chance to shorten their sentences – and thinks imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (pictured) who is serving 14 years in prison should qualify. | Sun-Times files

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Updated: December 9, 2011 8:15AM

Convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s day of reckoning has finally been set.

During an unannounced hearing in federal court, U.S. District Judge James Zagel on Monday set aside Dec. 6 and Dec. 7 for Blagojevich’s criminal sentencing.

Zagel scheduled Blagojevich’s sentencing during a quiet afternoon hearing where the courtroom gallery was empty except for one reporter.

Blagojevich’s lawyer, Shelly Sorosky, said in court Monday he thought the sentencing would take two days. Sorosky said the ex-governor would testify at the hearing.

“I think I can safely say that,” Sorosky said.

Zagel told the defense to notify prosecutors by Dec. 1 if it intended to call any witnesses.

Zagel had postponed Blagojevich’s original Oct. 6 date because he was also presiding over the trial of Springfield businessman William Cellini, a longtime behind-the-scenes power broker in state government.

For the prosecution’s part, Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said he didn’t expect to call anyone to the stand, as most of the witnesses had been before the judge and they had been cross-examined at trial.

“I don’t know what can be illuminated by calling more witnesses,” Schar said.

The Chicago Sun-Times previously reported that federal prosecutors calculated Blagojevich’s sentencing guideline range at 30 years to life. They have not made their recommendation public yet, though. That is expected to happen in Nov. 30 court filings.

On Friday, prosecutors revealed they would ask that Blagojevich fund-raiser Tony Rezko spend 11 to 15 years in prison. Rezko cooperated with the government after he was convicted in 2008 but prosecutors complained he wasn’t that helpful and initially minimized his role in various schemes.

Blagojevich’s defense team, which has been collecting letters in support of the former governor, has said it would ask that Blagojevich get probation for his offenses.

In June, a jury convicted Blagojevich on 17 of 20 counts.

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