Disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Appears in Court Via Video Link

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In his first public appearance since checking into a Colorado federal prison in 2012, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appeared via a video link before a federal court Tuesday, nearly eight years after being arrested on charges that made his name synonymous with government corruption.

His 14-year sentence, however, was ultimately upheld.

Blagojevich appeared before the court wearing a Navy blue prison outfit and wept when his daughters took the stand to speak on his behalf.

He apologized and told the court that he regrets "mistakes and misjudgments" he's made in the past.

Defense attorney Melissa Matuzak read aloud excerpts of letters penned by fellow inmates on Blagojevich's behalf.

The re-sentencing hearing of Blagojevich, which featured an attempt on the part of his defense team to reduce his 14-year sentence to five years for good behavior, represented a stark change from the defiance he showed when news of his corruption scandal first broke in 2008.

Among the causes that lead to Blagojevich's original conviction was the charge that he sought to exchange an appointment to Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat in exchange for campaign money.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, has been a resident of the Federal Correctional Institution, Englewood, near Littleton, Colorado, since March 15 of 2012, where he is known as Inmate No. 40892-424. His date for expected release remains 2024, factoring in two years of credit for good behavior.

U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel, who presided over Tuesday's doomed appeal, was the judge who originally sentenced Blagojevich to 14 years in prison in 2011.

He issued memorably harsh words to him then that condemned the culture of corruption he oversaw as governor of the state of Illinois.

"When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn and disfigured and not easily or quickly repaired. You did that damage," Zagel told Blagojevich in 2011.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statue

Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statueMark Wilson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer will issue a statement Friday afternoon after canceling a news conference at which he was expected to "make a major announcement" regarding the local statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the legacy of the woman killed during a protest sparked by the city's plans to remove the statue.

His news conference had been scheduled for noon on Friday, but the mayor tweeted Friday morning that "we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon."

FYI all: we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon. Stay tuned.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

FYI, the reason for the change is we decided a statement rather than a press event was the best medium for the ideas I want to convey today.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

The statement comes six days after a Unite the Right rally sparked by Charlottesville's plan to remove the Lee statue from a local park turned deadly.

The rally was attended by neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members. They were met with hundreds of counterprotesters, which led to street brawls and violent clashes.

A driver plowed into counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring several others. The suspected driver is in custody, facing charges including second-degree murder.

Despite the "painful" event, "we’re not going to let them define us,” Signer told ABC News earlier this week of the agitators.

"They’re not going to tell our story," he said. "We’re going to tell our story. And outsiders -- their time has come and gone. This city is back on their feet, and we’re going to be better than ever despite this."

Signer compared his hopes for Charlottesville's recovery to the aftermath of the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting in June 2015 that killed nine people. The gunman in that attack said he wanted to start a race war, but the tragedy instead united the city.

"There’s a memorial right now in front of Charlottesville City Hall that’s flowers and a heart that talks about the love that we have here. Those are the images that are going to replace these horrific ones from this weekend. That’s the work that we have as a country," Signer said.

"That’s what happened in Charleston. There were those horrible images of those people bloodied and killed and weeping from the church. But they were replaced quickly, steadily, by the work that started to happen. By people who said, 'You’re not going to tell our story for us. We’re going to tell our story.'

"And that’s what’s happening in this community. That’s my work as the mayor here -- is not to allow these hateful people who just don’t get this country to define us," he said. "And they’re not going to define us."

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