Government: Blagojevich should get 15 to 20 years

By NOMAAN MERCHANT | November 30, 2011 | 11:40 AM EST

CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors say ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison.

The 54-year-old Blagojevich was convicted of 18 corruption-related counts, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. A federal judge will sentence him next week.

In advance of sentencing, both prosecutors and Blagojevich's attorneys were expected to make recommendations on what his sentence should be.

Prosecutors say Blagojevich's public office and background made him aware of the damage of public corruption. They say he deserves longer sentences than the 6 1/2 years given to former Gov. George Ryan and the more than 10 years given to Tony Rezko, a former Blagojevich fundraiser.

Blagojevich's attorneys are expected to respond with their recommendation.