• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Blagojevich's sentencing hearing begins

December 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A sentencing hearing begins on Tuesday for impeached former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted on 18 corruption counts, including trying to auction off President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.

Blagojevich faces the prospect of 10 or more years behind bars. Prosecutors will be asking for 15 to 20.

Judge James Zagel is expected to decide on a sentence on Wednesday - possibly so he can sleep on it. If Zagel sentences Blagojevich to more than a decade, it would be one of the stiffest penalties imposed for corruption in a state with a long history of crooked politics.

The disgraced former governor has already paid a price in public ridicule and financial ruin. The defense plan to insist that Blagojevich is innocent, and that he should only be sentenced to a few years.

Legal experts say Blagojevich needs to display remorse, but it was unknown if he plans to beg for mercy, or protest his innocence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.