Blagojevich became the second consecutive former governor of Illinois to be sentenced to prison in the last decade. Blagojevich's GOP predecessor, George Ryan, was sentenced to 6 and a half years for his involvement in the illegal sale of government liscences, contracts and leases while serving as Illinois Secretary of State.
Most famously, the ousted Democrat was accused of selling the appointment to Barack Obama's vacated senate seat to the highest bidder.
In the most notorious of the FBI wiretaps that sealed his fate, Blagojevich is heard crowing that his chance to name someone to Obama’s Senate seat was “f---ing golden” and he wouldn’t let it go “for f---ing nothing.” His lawyers claimed the comments were simply “musings,” but jurors and the judge agreed they were evidence of a crime.In addition to selling off an appointment to the US Senate, Blagojevich also had reportedly demanded donations from the head of a Children's Hospital to the tune of $50,000 in return for increased support from the state. The convicted Democrat also extorted nearly $100,000 in campaign donations from a pair of horse racing tracks and the CEO of a racing company to fast-track legislation that would benefit them.
Blagojevich responded to his Dec. 9, 2008, arrest with defiance, appointing Roland Burris to the Senate job and proclaiming his innocence with a media blitz.
The boyish-looking defendant continued pursuing the spotlight after he was removed from office, writing a book, appearing in reality TV shows such as “Celebrity Apprentice” and even appearing in a TV ad in which he opens a briefcase overflowing not with money, but with pistachios. “Rod Blagojevich does it innocently,” was the line.