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Former Blagojevich Aide Given 2 Year Prison Sentence


A federal judge on Tuesday handed a two-year prison sentence to a close friend and aide of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Lon Monk pleaded guilty to taking part in a scheme to shake down a racetrack owner for campaign contributions. Monk testified against the former Illinois governor.

Monk and Blagojevich know each other from their time in law school. They met during a trip to England. Monk later was Blagojevich's top aide in the U,S, House of Representatives, he worked on Blagojevich's first campaign for governor, and stayed on during his first term as governor. Monk stayed close with Blagojevich after becoming a lobbyist.

It is that closeness that Judge James Zagel said "cuts against Monk."

According to Zagel, Monk "knew what kind of man the governor was," and should never have stuck with him so long.

Monk's attorney said a previously agreed to two year sentence was too harsh, especially given that John Harris, another Blagojevich aide who testified against the governor, got just 10 days. Zagel stuck with the deal, saying Monk was "unwilling to stop some of the damage" Blagojevich was inflicting.

In a brief statement to the judge before his sentencing, Monk said he is "prepared to serve (his) sentence," and is "looking forward to coming back a better person...husband...father..(and) friend."

Judge Zagel gave Monk until July 6 to report to prison. Zagel gave Monk more time than normal before he has to report to prison so he can spend time with his kids in the early summer.