Zagel, as it happens, was the same judge who in 2009 had sentenced mob informant Nick Calabrese to 12 years in prison. Calabrese helped take down the Chicago mob. He also killed 14 people.

I’ve written hundreds of stories, blog posts, magazine articles and, finally, a book on Blagojevich’s case. There was one sentiment I heard over and over again, which went something like, “I know Blagojevich was guilty as hell but 14 years is insane.”…

There are hardliners who firmly believe prison is where Blagojevich still belongs. But as blockbuster of a case that Blagojevich’s became, and as much as he gave Illinois a black eye at a time when the country was celebrating the historic election of Barack Obama, even some of the most ardent Blagojevich critics would stop and ask, “But 14 years?”